By Tracy Jones
Never is the need for high professional and ethical standards brought into sharper focus than in the field of financial and investor public relations.
We've all heard spectacular stories of losses from unscrupulous operators - or even just incompetent ones - who were responsible for individuals losing their life savings or worse.
The role of public relations professionals in avoiding such disasters should not be underestimated - we have a unique role as strategic counsel to convince executives to operate in an open, transparent and honest way. I'm not suggesting for a minute that we can somehow stop people losing money. What we can do, though, is contribute to an environment of transparency.
I've never met a public relations professional who advocates the "cover up" as the best way to deal with a scandal. Ethical professionals are strong advocates for honesty over deception, for transparency over misrepresentation and for facts over spin.
Those of us working in the financial and investor relations sector need to keep ethics top of mind as we go about advising our executives and clients. It may not always be the easiest route - but it is the one that will ensure that reputations, credibility and respect stay intact.
As published in the Public Relations Instsitute of Australia (PRIA) National Newsletter September 2009.
Tracy is national president of the PRIA.