Our modern-day world is irreducibly complex.

Too difficult to breakdown in small steps.

We may as well continue to fly by the seat of our pants with no aids, pre-determined plan or proper governance.

After all, a plan only works if people do not know there is one.

It may give us the necessary oomph to figure things out ourselves to make stuff work rather than looking over our shoulder for help, support or guidance.

Along these lines of thinking, COVID-19 may serve, in a perverse kind of way, as a smokescreen behind which we can finally get our act together to do things that should have happened years ago.

Wait a minute, that was the plan all along.

We just could not get to it due to other priorities.

Well, alright then.

No, it is not all right, the disastrous consequences of this type of behaviour are self-evident daily.   

It is time to stop trying to align our story to suit the situation.

We must come up with an intelligent design instead to open up a whole new world which, like a rubik’s cube, temporarily puts some noses out of joint to make things work.

But people understand this because they can see the bigger picture.  

The good thing is that, broadly speaking, the institutions, legal frameworks and governance structures are already in place.

A false positive perhaps because they do not function properly, not a waste of time.

It is the unwritten rules that are often the problem as it is a matter of perspective as to whether these are broken.

There is a big difference between not conforming to a generally accepted standard and an unlawful act.

Using the law of the vital few, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects generally come from 20% of the causes.  

We must therefore re-discover the fact that organised complexity starts from humble beginnings.

Our individual preferences, ideologies or beliefs may differ however the language of good and bad behaviour is inherently clear to us all.

There is no outside adjudicator required to tell us that.

So, let’s stop arguing about the detail for now to focus on the bigger picture; how to improve the human experience which impacts us all in some shape or form.

The human experience is a combination lock where the code required depends on how you look at it.

Our working lives (or business) must become our ethical compass to better steer our (time) investments based on our day-to-day principles, morals and values.  

Granted, it may be a small step that is too obvious.

To translate this into the world of finance, it primarily boils down to having an intimate knowledge of the provenance or origin of what you invest in:

  • Research departments must walk the shop floor to go beyond the numbers.
  • Derivative products are fine if origin allows.
  • A true risk-share in a company to better manage opportunistic behaviour.
  • Scrub financial instruments to insure green, blue or social credentials.
  • Tax neutrality to invest based on merit.

Additionally, international supervisory boards can be set up to closely monitor any arbitrage to effectively navigate a mesh of belief systems.

The purpose is to make sure an investment does exactly what it says on the tin. There may be different levels of risk associated with each product as certainty is a rare commodity.

Invest in what you stand for.

The United Nations’ backed ‘Responsible Banking’ initiative is a significant step towards Ethical Finance. Banks holding $47 trillion in assets have signed up to these principles.

These principles are part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) expected to unlock $12 trillion annually and create 380 million more jobs by 2030.

The (re-)introduction of Ethics into Finance may be a case of climbing Mount Improbable.

But the greater the statistical improbability, the less plausible is chance as a solution.

Each one of us must deliberately guide this process.

Even though there may not be an overall preferred direction of travel, it could just happen that we all move in the same direction at the same time.

Bit by bit.

Turning these Anni Horribiles into Anni Mirabiles.  

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