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Business Ethics

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]A certain large retail bank in my area is making national headlines again for allegedly cheating its customers out of their money – this time signing them up for car insurance they both didn’t need and didn’t know they had. My loyalty, as a banking customer since 1989, is being quickly eroded. As Warren Buffett says, “It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

I find some companies go out of their way to do what’s right for their customers. Many companies naturally do the right thing, but don’t go the extra mile. And some companies cheat their customers in pursuit of profits. While it’s all too easy for the ethics in a company to slide downhill, I have found it’s extremely difficult to go in the other direction.

I can’t name a company that had a reputation for being lousy to its customers that transformed into one lauded for doing the right thing. My guess is that’s because some of the ethical employees leave. Who would want the thankless job of staying to pick up the pieces? The ones with a choice will find better opportunities.

So why should I continue to work with a company that has a history of mistreating its customers? Investment companies have found themselves on my lifetime ban lists for similar problems. I won’t name names, but any mutual fund company that was involved in late day trading in the early 2000s will never see a dime from me. They effectively stole from the majority of their customers in order to help the favored few. Their business seems to be doing okay 15 years later, but I’m in no hurry to rush back.

[Side note: I am proud to work for a financial services company where we have been proud fiduciaries for decades. That means our clients come first.]

I want to work with companies that go out of their way to do the right thing. I want to never have to worry about whether or not I can trust someone’s word. When patterns of bad behavior develop, I will take my business elsewhere because I recognize they have an uphill climb to turn things around.[/fusion_text][separator style_type=”single” top_margin=”” bottom_margin=”” sep_color=”” icon=”” width=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]

Legal Disclaimer: These posts do not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell any securities or instruments or to participate in any particular investment or trading strategy. They are for informational purposes only. ASA gathers its data from sources it considers reliable. However, ASA makes no express or implied warranties regarding the accuracy of this information or any opinions expressed by the author and may update or change them without prior notification.