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Finance professor publishes ethics journal, first of its kind

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Kara Tan Bhala

LAWRENCE — "Moral Cents: The Journal of Ethics in Finance" is exactly what it sounds like. Kara Tan Bhala is a lecturer at the University of Kansas School of Business; director of the Finance Scholars Program; and president and founder of Seven Pillars Institute for Global Finance and Ethics. Tan Bhala started the journal as part of the institute and it follows the institute's mission: "To highlight and analyze issues of moral philosophy in finance with a view to enhancing practice and policy. The journal promotes and pursues this mission."

"Ethics is very much ignored in finance theory," Tan Bhala said. "Finance ethics is only taught in four or five business schools in the country. We need to put ethics back into finance."

Tan Bhala worked on Wall Street and says she knows about the practices of financers. "I have a practice-oriented view of the subject," she said. "I know what financers face on a daily basis and my institute gives classes on these issues as well."

The journal is biannual and is always calling for papers, Tan Bhala said, especially from alumni and current students of the University of Kansas. Two such papers, written by Master of Business Administration students Brady Copeman and Mark Satterfield are included in the inaugural issue, released in January.

Satterfield, who graduates in May, wrote a paper titled, "The Rewards of Socially Responsible Investing." He talks about the history of socially responsible investing, investing in "green" companies and the challenges that accompany that.

"Socially responsible investing is something that interests me personally," Satterfield said. "I definitely recognize the need for ethics in finance. You can see how important ethics are when looking at the recent events with the housing market. What they did wasn't illegal, but you can definitely question its ethicality."

The hard part of creating the journal, Tan Bhala said, was finding essay contributions. "Coming up with the idea was just fun," she said. "It took some time, but I enjoyed the process."

To read the journal or find out more about the institute, visit the website.

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