Ethical Leadership In The Fintech Era

Ingrid Vasiliu Feltes, USA

MD MBA, Healthcare Executive, Futurist & Globalist


  The pandemic has been a massive catalyst for the digital era. Novel technologies are major drivers of change as they shape our society and economy at maximum velocity. Blending of the boundaries between physical and digital will likely continue with the increased adoption and rapid deployment of these novel technologies.  Some of these, such as 5G, IoT, AI, Blockchain, Quantum or Edge Computing have a major disruptive potential globally.

Leadership Skills

  Leaders that wish to succeed in this highly virtualized, digitalized and hyperconnected environment will be required to display a complex armamentarium of novel skills, such as digital literacy and fluency, global citizenship, design thinking and mastery of applied ethics. 

Within the ethics realm, there are several domains to consider in a state of the art fintech strategic roadmap: digital ethics,  cyber ethics, business ethics and leadership ethics. Digital ethics addresses behaviors related to digital mediums, norms related to the use of digital tools., autonomy an ownership of online data etc. Business ethics includes governance, social and fiduciary responsibilities, as well as discrimination, fraud, abuse or bribery. Ethical fintech leaders are expected to display a high regard for moral values such as honesty, fairness, respect for others.

It will be important for Fintech Leaders to dedicate resources to all of those and to embed them into the fabric of their enterprise strategy. By striving to demonstrate ethical leadership in this digital era, fintech leaders can greatly contribute to the development a Global Fintech Ethics Culture.

As Heraclitus stated: “Character is Destiny “.

So what are the key character traits of an Ethical Fintech Leader?

As a recent article in Forbes Business Council highlighted leading by example and cultivating external awareness are crucial particularly during times of crisis or disruption. Additionally, an ethical leader shows empathy, puts his team first and displays a high degree of moral integrity.



What are the major pitfalls that ethical fintech leaders need to be aware of? 


Digital data ownership, digital identity, digital privacy are the foundational elements and blatant violations keep making headlines on a frequent basis. At a more advanced level the fusion of AI, Blockchain, and Digital Assets or Crypto-Assets with other financial instruments and technologies creates the need for a complex digital ethics program. Given the IoT trend and scaling of 5G networks we are witnessing a state of the art cyber-ethics program has to be on every fintech leader’s agenda.

Global Fintech Ethics Ecosystem

 It has become evident that exponential adoption of fintech and ongoing innovative forces will require a sustainable digital ethics culture in order to prevent potential violations of trust, integrity, digital privacy, digital ownership  etc. Fintech leaders should be appropriately concerned about general ethical issues, as well as those unique to the fintech ecosystem. Reactive or mitigation approaches are not an optimal solution and one would hope that ethical leadership in the fintech industry will be marked by state of the art strategic planning and a careful tactical deployments. A great quote that illustrates the importance of creating a robust ethical governance infrastructure within the organization was by Alfred Einstein who stated “ relativity applies to physics, not to ethics”.

Future Directions

 For centuries Ethics has been a very important discipline and is currently witnessing a digital renaissance within the scientific and business community due to the complex ethical issues we are facing in this digital era. Fintech leaders have the opportunity to shape the future by fostering a Culture of Ethics and contributing to the development of a Global Fintech Ethics Framework.

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