The Archbishop of Canterbury may have intervened in the controversy surrounding the Occupy London protest, as noted in our post at http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/?p=1477, but financial services professionals emphatically reject the Church’s role in high finance.
This is the very clear message from an online survey of 515 finance professionals in the City of London conducted by ComRes between 30 August and 12 September 2011, on behalf of the St Paul’s Institute at St Paul’s Cathedral. 88% of respondents were aged 25-54 and 65% were men.
The research is summarized by Rita Duarte of ComRes on pp. 8-19 of Value and Values: Perceptions of Ethics in the City Today, a report and reflections from the St Paul’s Institute published on 7 November. This can be downloaded from:
Additionally, ComRes has released the full data tables from the study, with breaks by gender, age, and length of working in the financial services sector. These can be found at:
Asked whether the City of London needed to listen more to the guidance of the Church, only 12% agreed, 76% disagreed, with 12% uncertain. Men (79%) were more likely to disagree than women (70%), with dissent reaching 80% among those who had worked longest in the sector (for fifteen years or more).
Nor can such attitudes be entirely attributed to an absence of faith. Belief in God ran at 41% and at virtually one-half for the over-55s and those who had been in the sector for fewer than five years. 38% disbelieved, but one in two of them said that they believed in a higher power or were a spiritual person. 21% did not know what to think about God.
16% of financial services professionals claimed to attend religious worship at least once a month, 37% less frequently, and 47% never. Total non-attendance peaked at 54% for the 25-34 cohort and 60% for those who had worked in the sector from six to ten years.
More generally, the poll discovered that: ‘professionals in the financial services sector believe that City bond traders, FTSE chief executives and stock brokers are paid too much, teachers are paid too little and that there is too great a gap between rich and poor in the UK.’