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Fining of the Most Respected?

Company ranking on the list of the World’s Most Respected Companies:

Wells Fargo #7

JP Morgan #37

Bank of America #94

Citigroup #95

UBS #97

Barron’s is a financial newspaper that publishes an annual list of the most respected companies. According to the most recent list, this is where these five banks ended up out of all the corporations in America. Despite all ranking within the top 100, these 5 banks agreed to pay a total of more than $5 billion in fines to settle charges made by regulatory agencies and the United States Justice Department. These banks were convicted of acting in concert to manipulate international interest and foreign currency exchange rates.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said the banks had engaged in “brazenly illegal behavior… on a near-daily basis.” She added that the government “intends to vigorously prosecute all those who tilt the economic system in their favor [and] who subvert our marketplaces.”

In light of some of Jeff Ivory’s recent comments regarding the fiduciary standard, it provides a good example of corporations putting their own interests first, even at the cost of their clients. 

This behavior and the correlating positive ratings from Barron’s raise a number of questions. How could this disconnect exist between reality and perception? Is this an example of superb marketing and public relations? Is this just the tip of the iceberg? Are there other and more egregious activities that have yet to be uncovered? Was this a mistake of oversight or part of a cultural issue within the organizations? While it creates uncertainty and distrust of the industry as a whole, it also emphasizes this corporate corruption that goes largely unnoticed by the general public; those most affected by it.


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