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60 seconds with Cris Parker, Banking & Finance Oath, Executive

by InFinance | 10 May 2017

We've read your title, now tell us how you would describe what you ACTUALLY do to a friend at a BBQ?

Day to day I have conversations with people about the impact of behaviour on their culture, the importance of ethics and integrity, and the role The Banking and Finance Oath can play. My working life is all about coming up with ideas to encourage a long-lasting commitment to high ethical standards. People are proud to be in this industry and the Oath enables them to say that publicly. I am lucky to work in a space where we are always focused on making things better.

#6 Cris Parker

What's the biggest factor that's shaping your industry right now?

From where I stand it’s trust and how it impacts relationships with leaders, as well as company culture and reputation. Research shows all industries are suffering because of a trust shift from institutions to individuals. We all now place more importance in something said by 'someone just like me'. Financial services is working hard to get ahead of this trend and restore the social contract.  We're increasing education and standards, and customers’ issues are being heard and addressed. What interests me is trust in our organisations is built on the behaviour of the people within them. And that is the Oath's space. Individual commitment, accountability to your peers and the best kind of action.  The stronger those ethical foundations, the better we are.  

What led you to pursue your career path in the first place and can you remember where and when the light bulb came on?

I love to tell people’s stories and build relationships that lead to better things. That's always been consistent across my personal and professional life. After completing a social science degree, I landed at The Ethics Centre and I do think that was an important moment. Ethics encouraged me to reflect and think deeper and realise the strength of making good choices. When the opportunity to work on The BFO came up, I jumped at it. I'm fascinated by the perfect storm the industry is in the midst of. And my skills are badly needed.  

To what extent have your career goals changed/remained the same?

I have always taken opportunities that are challenging, complex and outside my comfort zone. So in that sense the goal posts are always moving.

What is the one thing you would have done differently in hindsight getting to where you are now?

I really like where I am now and I never tire of the conversations about ethics and the growing potential of creating a better industry. The language of financial services has taken some getting used to. The last few years would have been a little easier if I had done a finance degree, although it’s never too late. In a way my distance from the language of the sector was a real benefit. It continues to ensure I listen very hard, ask questions and never assume anything about anyone.

Who is your most influential or inspirational professional influence and why?

Everyone I speak to is inspiring. Everybody has their own story and different reasons for doing what they do. I  learn from everyone. That said, the most influential people in this role would have to be Simon Longstaff for the ethical guidance he provides and Clare Payne who is a star for starting the BFO initiative and encouraging me to be the best I can be…I feel really lucky.


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