At LF, we think that ethics comes first, second and third. There are many ways to make money, and the modern world offers many temptations, not all of which are ethical or legal. What distinguishes great civilizations and organizations is their adherence to a set of universally agreed laws and principles, and the efforts of each of their members to uphold those rules.
- We have been offered bribes. And always declined.
- We have been offered mandates by dubious entrepreneurs, where one could not be sure that the origin of their financial wealth was acquired with due regard for the law at all times. We have preferred to say ‘no thanks’.
- We have been accused of mismanaging public companies (Elektrim S.A.) and have successfully defended our innocence and public reputation in the courts over the following years – please feel free to see this article and that presentation for more details.
We therefore have the highest regard for an independent judiciary, and for law enforcement focused on ensuring adherence to universally agreed principles of law and ethics.
Furthermore, we hold investment bankers to be both a very influential and fortunate group of professionals - people who generally have an ability to shape important transactions in the world that affect the lives and livelihoods of many people in many real economy jobs. Such privilege comes with a particular responsibility: the responsibility to always try to do your best; the responsibility to seek to find solutions that ensure the survival and benign development of the companies that are our clients, so that they may offer gainful employment and professional development opportunities to their staff; the responsibility to impart impartial and professional advice that has the best interest of our clients at mind, even if that advice should not be value-maximizing for our fee income; the responsibility to take a long-term view and not just an egotistic short-term one.
Since investment bankers also earn more money that most other professionals, we hold that we have a responsibility to share some of our fee income with those less fortunate, and to support worthwhile initiatives that allow talented young people to shoot for their dreams. We are thus happy to support a range of educational institutions, among them the UWC in Duino and the UWC in Mostar, as well as the London School of Economics.
Alex Neuber is a proud co-founder and contributor to Poland’s first philanthropic venture fund, Valores, and has assisted social entrepreneurs through the twinning program run by the Polish Private Equity Association PSIK, the Social Business Accelerator.