ABSTRACT

Drawing on a finance professional’s reflections on his ethical education as an economics undergraduate, Chartered Financial Analyst, and top-tier MBA graduate, this article considers the framing of, and need for philosophy in, ethical training for finance professionals. Role-playing is emphasized as helpful for developing a mature ethical approach, and theory is seen as desirable after the fact, to plan improved future action. The article problematizes an orientation in professional programs that primarily gears the teaching of ethics toward those students perceived to be least ethical. This orientation seems to underlie both the education the financial professional received and current public interest in ‘more ethics’ in professional programming. As an alternative, the article reframes finance students and professionals as ethical actors whose primary dilemma (and need for theory in ethical training) concerns not how to avoid ethical transgressions, but how to better optimize the duty to self in order to avoid excessive ethical caution that interferes with achieving the greatest good for the greatest number.