Archive for 2012

A telling tale to end the year

One of the most closely watched COI stories of the year concerned the Facebook IPO.  As a piece in today’s Wall Street Journal  notes, this IPO is seen as a “telling example of the divided loyalties at many firms, which woo lucrative investment-banking clients and then prod brokerage customers to […]


This is a week when many readers of the COI Blog are, I imagine, out of the office, and thus an appropriate time to explore connections between ethics in one’s home and business lives. In “Truth Telling: A Representative Assessment,” published in October by the Institute for the Study of […]

Being your own Socrates

I’m currently reading a slim but highly insightful book – The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking, by Edward B.  Burger and Michael Starbird, two renowned educators, that was published a few months ago.  Among the five elements,  I was particularly taken by the  authors’ advice to “[b]e your own Socrates.” Socrates, […]

Checking in on auditor conflicts of interest

I recently referred to COIs in the financial services field as a never ending story, and the same  might be said of COIs in the accounting field.   But accounting conflicts are different than most financial service ones because, as described by the Supreme Court,  “the independent auditor assumes a public responsibility […]

Webcasts to ring out the old and ring in the new

On December 19 I’ll be speaking on conflicts of interest on an ECOA webcast. Among other things, I’ll review best practices in COI risk assessment and mitigation, including policy drafting, management and board training, oversight, certifications, disclosures/approvals, monitoring, auditing, self-assessment and investigations.  Web cast attendees will be invited to engage in real-time benchmarking […]

An introduction to behavioral ethics

A quarter of a century ago, as a young criminal defense lawyer, I began to be struck by how different the causes of many white collar crimes were from the then (and still) traditional view. The latter saw (sees) white collar crimes as based largely on rational calculations by profoundly […]

The Ford case

Earlier this week an Ontario Superior Court Justice found that the mayor of Toronto – Rob Ford – guilty of a conflict of interest and ordered him removed from office.  The mayor’s offense was having participated in a vote of the Toronto City Council on a matter in which he […]

Corporate charitable giving and conflicts of interest

This is, of course, the season of giving.  And so – hopefully in not too Grinchian a way – the Conflict of Interest Blog looks at possible COIs in corporate philanthropy. One type of such COI concerns outright corruption  (i.e., third-party conflicts) and perhaps the most attention getting story of this sort in the […]

Top SEC official speaks on how to mitigate conflicts of interest

In a recent post,  we began to discuss a speech given last month by Carlo V. di Florio, Director, Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations of the Securities and Exchange Commission  – which indeed is a font of COI-related ideas and information with respect to the financial services industry.  In today’s post, […]

A new (and free) behavioral ethics resource – videos from the U of T

A few days ago the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business launched its Ethics Unwrapped web site. The site  asks, “Why do good people do bad things?” and notes: “Neither character nor the ability to reason ethically is strongly correlated with ethical behavior, so there is work to be done […]