Seven Pillars Institute

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Seven Pillars Institute
Seven Pillars Institute Logo that displays the title of the respective institution "Seven Pillars Institute for Global Finance and Ethics." The 'p' in pillars is stylised to look like it is seven pillars.
MottoEthics in Finance is Good
Established2010; 9 years ago (2010)
FounderKara Tan Bhala
TypeNon-profit think tank 501(c)(3)
FocusTo highlight and analyze issues of moral philosophy in global financial markets with a view to enhancing ethical practice and policy
HeadquartersSeven Pillars Institute, 31 W 31st St., Kansas City, MO 64108
Location
  • Kansas City, Missouri
Coordinates39°04′15″N 94°35′12″W / 39.0709°N 94.5868°W / 39.0709; -94.5868Coordinates: 39°04′15″N 94°35′12″W / 39.0709°N 94.5868°W / 39.0709; -94.5868
President
Kara Tan Bhala
Websitesevenpillarsinstitute.org

Seven Pillars Institute for Global Finance and Ethics (SPI) is an independent, not-for-profit think tank based in Kansas City, Missouri.[1] Founded in 2010 by Dr. Kara Tan Bhala, the institute is authorized under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code and is a nonsectarian and nonpartisan research and educational organization.[1] Touted as the first and only think tank of its kind, a large part of the institute's work is to provide education on ethics and its application in every area of finance.[1][2] In addition, the institute offers analysis and opinions on ethical issues in finance. The institute is at the forefront of shaping the emerging field of financial ethics and is a leader in increasing public awareness in this practical area of finance. Prospect Think Tank Awards cited and shortlisted Seven Pillars Institute for the "American Energy and Environment" award in 2016 for its "deft work" on what the financial sector should be doing to help mitigate climate change.[3][4]

History[edit]

Dr. Kara Tan Bhala founded Seven Pillars Institute in Lawrence, Kansas in 2010. The institute is the first think tank in the world to focus on financial ethics.[1][2]

Dr. Tan Bhala serves as president of the institute. She has an MBA from Oxford University and PhD in Philosophy from the University of Kansas. She was previously a lecturer in finance at the University of Kansas, a visiting research fellow (2015 to 2017) and currently an honorary research fellow at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS) at the School of Law of Queen Mary University of London.[5][6] In addition, Dr. Tan Bhala serves on the advisory team for IntegTree LLC, an organization that collaborates with the institute.[7]

Dr. Tan Bhala has also worked for twenty-three years in international finance, mostly on Wall Street, and nine as a managing director at Merrill Lynch.[8] Dr. Tan Bhala has published extensively and has lived and worked in London, Oxford, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York City, and Washington, D.C.[9]

Mission and quest[edit]

The institute states its mission as being to "highlight and analyze issues of moral philosophy in finance with a view to enhancing ethical practice and policy."[10] The institute aims to serve as a space for new theories and practices that might synthesize ethics with finance. This focus on the synthesis of finance and ethics comes from the goals of providing an ethical perspective to and challenging the entrenchment of Modern Finance Theory (MFT).[10] By highlighting, analyzing, and disseminating its research into the public sphere, the institute hopes to generate awareness and productive and constructive debate on moral issues in finance to achieve its mission.

Accompanying its mission is the institute's quest to make ethics an integral part of finance theory and thus, practice.[11] The institute believes it is crucial to change prevailing attitudes towards ethics in finance through modifying and improving finance theory. This quest is distinguished from the institute's mission and provides more detail to the long-term goals of Seven Pillars Institute.[11]

The institute operates under the ethos that the current models of finance present limitations and flaws. Financial theories are no longer unassailable, and financial practices are questionable. The institute dedicates itself to finding a more desirable paradigm. The work and quest of the institute have been met with praise by some ethicists, philosophers and financiers even when considering the institute's work seeks to challenge the dominance of neoclassical economic theory.[12] However, some have expressed discomfort with the mission's underpinning premise of retaining MFT, and there has been some debate as to whether the aforementioned quest seeks to "bin MFT complete, or propose a radical alteration."[12]

Work[edit]

Seven Pillars states its financial ethics services, primarily education-oriented, are geared towards the sectors of:

  • government - working with governmental agencies and departments to incorporate ethical considerations into policy-making and provide ethics seminar and consulting[13]
  • business - provide employees with ethical perspectives to decision-making and enlighten employers to ethical issues with the institute's industry case studies[14]
  • academia - contribute to the proliferation of research, articles, and learning tools pertaining to ethics and finance[15]

The institute has embarked on a number of collaborative efforts through its affiliations with other organizations and institutions.

One such collaboration is with the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary University of London where they work on ethics, law, and regulation in finance.[16] The collaboration aim is to foster a dialogue on important ethical policy issues affecting the financial services industry.[16] This dialogue is to be achieved primarily through Dr. Costanza Russo's designing of a postgraduate module in 'Ethics in Business and in Finance', and a comprehensive framework that includes collaboration on research, publications and other educational endeavors.[16] The institute also has a collaborative affiliation with IntegTree LLC.[17] Dr. Tan Bhala also works closely with the Transparency Task Force, an advocacy group based in London, England, whose purpose is to increase transparency in financial services.[18]

The institute has also conducted interviews with prominent economists, professors and authors.[19] Among them are Joris Luyendijk, L. Randall Wray, David Vines and Richard H. Thaler.[20][21][22][23]

In addition to the direct work of the institute, its president and founder, Dr. Tan Bhala, has delivered numerous lectures and speeches around the world on topics related to the synthesis of ethics and finance, promoting the institute's mission and quest.[6] Among some are:

Publications[edit]

The primary publication of the institute is its biannual journal, Moral Cents: The Journal of Ethics in Finance,[28] which is the first journal of its kind to focus on financial ethics and attempts to follow the institute's mission.[29]

The institute also publishes a variety of ancillary resources to aid in its mission, including:

The institute offers a textbook lead-authored by its president, Dr. Tan Bhala, in conjunction with Warren Yeh and Raj Bhala, titled International Investment Management: Theory, Ethics and Practice.[34] Additionally, Dr. Tan Bhala contributed the chapter, “The Decline and Rise of Financial Ethics” to The Business of Ethics (Dr. Raymond Madden, ed., Asian Institute of Finance, 2016).[35]

Real Clear Markets has featured a number of articles published by the institute and its associates in their research reports:

  • Financing, Ethics and the 2016 Brazil Olympics[36]
  • The Case of Goldman Sachs and 1MDB[37]
  • Are Insider Trading and the GM Bailout Ethical?[38]

The institute is also currently in the middle of developing a financial ethics training video series titled, Ethics in Finance is Good!.[39] The series is intended to have twelve episodes, each about two to three minutes long, and each dedicated to a specific topic in financial ethics. The videos are largely in animated form and are an attempt to provide a more light-hearted, entertaining and punchy type of ethics training video as opposed to the supposed corporate run-of-the-mill videos.[39] As of 30 December 2018, there are six episodes.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Seven Pillars Institute". The Nonprofit Village at 31W31. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Global Financial Ethics in the Age of Trump". Auckland Law School. 6 June 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Think Tank Awards 2016: the winners". Prospect Magazine. 29 November 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Seven Pillars Institute Shortlisted for Prestigious Think Tank Awards". PR Newswire. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Dr Kara Tan Bhala - Visiting Research Fellow January 2015 - January 2017". Centre for Commercial Law Studies | Queen Mary University of London. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  6. ^ a b "CCSL - Kara Tan Bhala". School of Law | Queen Mary University of London. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Meet the Team". IntegTree. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Graduation stories: Financial background, philosophy doctorate could be perfect pairing". KU News. 15 May 2009. Archived from the original on 15 May 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Publications". Seven Pillars Consulting. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b "The Mission of Seven Pillars Institute". Seven Pillars Institute. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Ethics in Modern Finance Theory – Our Quest". Seven Pillars Institute. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  12. ^ a b c Hicks, Kate (17 July 2013). "Ethics in Finance: A New Financial Theory for a Post-Financialized World". The Ethox Centre. Archived from the original on 16 September 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Financial Ethics in Government". Seven Pillars Institute. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Financial Ethics in Business". Seven Pillars Institute. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  15. ^ "Financial Ethics Research & Basics". Seven Pillars Institute. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  16. ^ a b c "Centre for Commercial Law Studies to collaborate with Seven Pillars Institute for Global Finance". School of Law, Queen Mary University of London. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  17. ^ "Partnering Organizations, Programs and Affiliations". IntegTree. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  18. ^ "TTF Ambassadors". Transparency Task Force. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Interviews with Experts, Policy Makers, and Leading Thinkers". Seven Pillars Institute. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  20. ^ Tan Bhala, Kara (8 October 2015). "Interview with Joris Luyendijk, Author of Swimming with Sharks". Seven Pillars Institute. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  21. ^ Strawn, Travis (17 December 2013). "Interview with L. Randall Wray: Modern Monetary Theory, Inequality". Seven Pillars Institute. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  22. ^ "Authors David Vines and Nicholas Morris on Capital Failure". Seven Pillars Institute. 5 March 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Interview with Richard H. Thaler on Misbehaving". Seven Pillars Institute. 12 March 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  24. ^ "Oxford University Invites Seven Pillars Institute president to speak on global finance, ethics". KU | School of Business. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  25. ^ "Financial ethics in the age of Trump". The University of Auckland Business School. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  26. ^ "Boston 28th September 2017". Transparency Task Force. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  27. ^ "GBES 2017 Agenda". Bentley University. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  28. ^ "Journals Archive". Seven Pillars Institute. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  29. ^ "Finance professor publishes ethics journal, first of its kind". School of Business | The University of Kansas. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  30. ^ "Glossary". Seven Pillars Institute. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  31. ^ "Case Studies". Seven Pillars Institute. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  32. ^ MacFarland, Kate (24 January 2017). "US: Financial Ethics Think Tank writes about Universal Basic Income". Basic Income News. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  33. ^ "Ethics 101". Seven Pillars Institute. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  34. ^ "Kara Tan Bhala's New Book Bridges Finance And Ethics". PR Newswire. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  35. ^ Madden, Raymond (25 July 2016). "New Book on Business Ethics". LinkedIn. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  36. ^ "February 13, 2012 Archives | Research Reports". RealClearMarkets. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  37. ^ "January 25, 2016 Archives | Research Reports". RealClearMarkets. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  38. ^ "March 5, 2012 Archives | Research Reports". RealClearMarkets. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  39. ^ a b "Lecturer launches financial ethics training series". KU Today. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  40. ^ "Videos". Seven Pillars Institute. Retrieved 30 December 2018.

External links[edit]