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A Moral Compass of The Dalai Lama

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In the essay “Ethics and the New Genetics” by the Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) the reader is informed on the wonders of all of the biogenetic advancements that are currently taking place. In addition to that, the reader is also informed of all the threats that the global community currently faces. The Dalai Lama is proposing a moral compass that we should all follow as one human race. The Moral Compass applies to just about everything that one can do especially when it comes to your career. Assume that a client comes to you and says, “listen I have all this money saved up and I want to invest it, what should I do?” Working in the financial services industry, you will be put into that similar scenario quite often. That is the industry that I am currently working in, and the industry of which I intend to build my business in. When one has all these people coming in all different directions with money asking to have different financial plans implemented it becomes very tempting for one to become greedy and falsely advise a client so that way you can get paid a much bigger commission. It should be almost mandatory for persons working in the financial services industry to have some type of moral compass to religiously follow. The moral compass that I am proposing is composed of integrity, authenticity, and treating everyone respectfully.

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Absolute integrity is everything in whatever you do especially when it comes to financial services. Integrity is a key factor at almost every level from the way the company functions to the way the company recruits people. No one will trust someone or some company that does not display honest motives. To take it a step further, would you ever give your money to an agent that does not possess motives of integrity? From the agent’s perspective, being a man of integrity is crucial because we have the ability to make or break a family’s financial situation. Whenever you’re honest with your clients and do the right thing, the reward can be very high. Sam Briones a current writer but, former agent in financial services says “The word of your honesty is bound to get around. You may not know it, but your customers can be your best source for advertisement. When you have an honest experience with your customer, it becomes meaningful for them too. Naturally, they will tell their friends and family about it. That is actually the best form of recommendation- a positive experience- can definitely bring in more customers.” Briones is really saying, being honest with all of your clients will eventually come back around and reward you. The importance of integrity in the financial services industry relates perfectly with what the Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) says in his essay “Ethics and the New Genetics” when he says “One partial solution is to ensure that a larger segment of the general public has a working grasp of scientific thinking and an understanding of key scientific discoveries especially those which have direct social and ethical implications.” (68) The Dalai Lama is saying that individuals working in the field of biogenetics need to be individuals of integrity, they have a responsibility to tell the general public what scientific advancements are currently being made. That correlates to financial services because if one within the industry has an understanding on market fluctuation and the effects it can have on an individual’s money then that should be disclosed.

Authenticity is what will take your business from the ground up. When one invests money with an individual or a financial firm, certain expectations must be met, the client should not be treated as just another transaction. Forbes Agency Council says “Nobody likes to be ‘sold to.’ Today’s consumers are incredibly savvy, and they can see right through a brand’s attempt to woo them with insincere flattery. The same is true of your firms’ clients. They want to know that they’re working with a trusted partner who knows and understands their people’s needs and goals. To build that trust, your agency needs to prioritize authentic, transparent relationships with its clients.” Forbes is suggesting that there is a huge necessity for authenticity. When one has a client, he or she can be authentic by sending quarterly reports or even giving a client a monthly call to talk about how their money is doing. There’s a direct correlation to the Dalai Lamas essay when he says “Education needs to provide not only training in the empirical facts of science but also an examination of the relationship between science and society at large, including the ethical questions raised by new technological possibilities. This educational imperative must be directed at scientist as well as laypeople, so that scientists retain a wider understanding of the social cultural and ethical ramifications of the work they’re doing.” (69) The Dalai Lama is saying that there needs to be transparency and authenticity on behalf of the biogenetic community. He suggests that through education people should be taught about the biogenetic advancements being made and that the individual’s studying biogenetics should be taught about society and how it coincides with scientific advancements. Likewise, the financial services industry needs to have an understanding on how their decisions can impact an individual, and the individuals should be taught about how that specific financial product, plan or the market works.

The last and most important component of the moral compass is treating all of your clients with respect. That can make or break the deal in the financial services industry. You cannot treat one client better than another because you will lose business that way, and it is just flat out immoral. Currently speaking, there is such a big divide in the market because of the fact that financial institutions only want to help the wealthy become wealthier. The current system is quite disturbing, the top eight percent of the population has the help from financial institutions, the bottom twelve percent of the population has government assistance, and the middle eighty percent of the population which is people like you and I that work hard for our money are completely ignored by financial institutions. I choose to represent a company that targets the ignored middle-class, Main street families is our market, the name of the company is Primerica. To prove that point, Primerica says “While other financial services companies typically focus on the wealthy, Primerica serves Main Street families in neighborhoods all across North America. We take an educational approach and offer financial tools to help our clients reach their goals. The complimentary Financial Needs Analysis asks all the right questions to identify exactly where a family is on the path to their goals, and then suggests Primerica solutions that both fit their needs and budget, and help them stay on track for those dreams.” The fact of the matter is that, every single financial services company in the industry needs to rethink their marketing strategies, the current strategies are a clear display of distasteful and disrespectful actions aimed towards hardworking middle-class people. In a metaphorical way, the idea of respecting everyone equally shares relation with the overall message David Foster Wallace leaves the reader with in his essay “Consider the Lobster” when he compares the Maine Lobster Festival to how a Nebraska Beef Festival would be, he states “Try to imagine a Nebraska beef festival at which part of the festivities is watching trucks pull up and the live cattle get driven down the ramp and slaughtered right there on the world’s largest killing floor or something — there’s no way,” (Wallace 467) Wallace is saying that we treat lobsters completely different then the way we treat cattle. The natural human tendency is to feel terrible for the cattle, but humans want to forget about the lobster. This relates to the financial services industry because financial institutions only want to respect and work with the wealthy. Shouldn’t everyone be treated fairly with the same level of respect?

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Having a moral compass is essential in all areas of your life from the way you are at work to the way you are in your personal day to day life. One needs to have a firm understanding on what is right from wrong based on the components of their moral compass. Working in the financial services industry, the moral compass has to be composed off integrity authenticity, and treating everyone with respect.

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