Webinar After FTX collapse: can cryptoassets be ethical?

24 March 2023, 2 pm (CET)

The increasing use of cryptoassets is expected to bring many opportunities and benefits through greater competition and efficiency in financial services. At the same time, the volatility of crypto markets has fueled significant concerns for investors and consumers. In particular, the recent collapse of leading digital asset exchange FTX has spurred questions about ethical risks, including comingling of customer assets, lack of transparency, and conflicts of interest, while reigniting the debate around the regulation of crypto-assets globally. Our roundtable aims to identify and evaluate the ethical challenges and opportunities that crypto-assets pose to business and society.

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Webinar Will Sustainable Finance Deliver? What? How? When?

7 March 2023

Sustainable Finance is rooted in the pledge that “doing well” and “doing good” can go hand in hand; that financial returns and positive social and environmental externalities can easily become complements; that finance is a positive-sum game. More than 30 years after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (1992) where the concept of sustainability has been defined, expectations as to the potential achievements of Sustainable Finance are higher than ever. But, at the same time, critical voices become louder: greenwashing, lack of tangible effects, the general lagging behind on climate targets, not to mention social ones. Our Round-Table will assess realistically what can be expected from Sustainable Finance as of today, and what changes are necessary to increase its effectiveness.

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Webinar Insurance, Ethics and Sustainability

The insurance industry offers a powerful engine to implement the climate transition due to its (global) size, its know-how in managing long-term risks and the multiple roles it plays in the economy. Thanks to their expertise in risk pricing and their investment capacities, insurance companies are capable to structurally influence the behaviour of economic players while supporting their development.


Building Brigdes 2022

Wednesday October 5 2022 – Geneva or livestream

Prof. Adam Marszk and Prof. Ewa Lechman will present their forthcoming book (Academic Press) which covers various aspects of the European sustainable investing exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including the empirical study of their effects for the financial and socio-economic systems as well as their possible impact on the environment. Julie Segal will broaden the discussion, building off profs. Marszk and Lechman’s research with a focus on equity and justice as well as policy and regulation.


Discussion Board n°29, 24/06/22

According to many observers, the world is now facing the prospect of a global food crisis, with the weakest potentially hit the hardest. Is the conjunction of war and poor harvest forecast the only cause of the crisis or do other underlying structural weaknesses in the world food system also play a role? What can/should be done about them?


Discussion Board n°27, 29/04/22

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has prompted western businesses and/or high-profile brands either to exit the country, to stay or to suspend operations. In reaction, Russia is threatening to nationalise tangible and intangible assets of exiting western companies. Should corporations be encouraged (why and by whom) to take decisions on non-economic grounds (for instance moral)? Is today the moment to re-open the debate of the 1990s on “do corporations have consciousness”?

Decès de Anthony Travis

Tony Travis avait rejoint le Conseil de l’Observatoire de la Finance en 2003, alors qu’il était managing partner à PwC à Genève en charge de la révision des comptes des grandes institutions bancaires suisses. Il a également collaboré avec la Commission Volker sur les fonds en déshérence. Tony a apporté à l’Observatoire l’ouverture sur les questions éthiques dans les professions comptables, notamment celles de la révision et de l’audit. Il était éminemment préoccupé par la montée d’une pratique de la révision basée plus sur les règles que  sur les principes, notamment ceux de l’intégrité personnelle. Il en a fait part dans un chapitre publié dans l’ouvrage collectif « Enron and the Wolrd of Finance » (*).

Anthony Travis était un fervent soutien à la mise en place des premières éditions du prix « Ethics & Trust in Finance ». C’est dans ce contexte que Tony nous a permis de rencontrer notre actuel président.  En retraite depuis quelques années, Tony consacrait beaucoup d’énergie à la promotion de l’entrepreneuriat en Afrique sub-saharienne et a notamment présidé Swiss African Business Circle.  Son expérience professionnelle au Congo, au début de sa carrière, a en effet marqué Tony à vie.

Merci Tony, pour ton amitié, ta compétence, ton expérience et ton humour dont nous garderons un souvenir reconnaissant.

(*) Travis, A. (2006). Enron et al. and Implications for the Auditing Profession. In: Dembinski, P.H., Lager, C., Cornford, A., Bonvin, JM. (eds) Enron and World Finance. Palgrave Macmillan, London.


Discussion Board n°26, 25/03/22

In response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the international community has shown willingness to respond but differences and hesitations about the type of instruments, the actors to target and the level of response. The spectrum goes from possible rapid accession of Ukraine to the EU, to economic sanctions. What kind of sanctions should be taken and by whom (governments, companies) in this situation?