An overview of IPF’s view on
Business Ethics

We believe that it is important to ensure that we are acting ethically at all times. 

We provide a clear template to employees through our Code of Ethics and place a great emphasis on communicating with, and training, employees through the use of real-life ethical dilemmas. We are committed to human rights and make an annual communication on progress through our membership of the United Nations Global Compact. 

The IPF Code of ethics sets out our ethical standards in relation to our key stakeholders including our people, agents, customers, investors, communities and wider society, business partners and the natural environment. The code represents our standard across the business regardless of employment level, geographical position or local culture. 

We have established a number of supporting mechanisms and processes throughout the business to ensure that ethics plays a part in both our strategic and day-to-day decision making. We maintain internal mechanisms to expose any deviations from the code as well as a third party, confidential whistleblowing service.

We are committed to conducting our affairs so as to combat bribery and corruption. Our trading activities are conducted with honesty and integrity and in accordance with the law, ensuring that we are compliant with anti-bribery and/or anti-corruption legislation in all applicable jurisdictions. We operate controls and procedures to ensure that no one acting on our behalf:

  • offers, promises or gives a bribe;
  • requests, agrees to accept or receives a bribe; nor
  • bribes a public official to obtain or retain business or an advantage

Our ethics programme focusses not just on integrating ethical considerations in policies and processes but also on empowering our people to make ethical decisions through training and communications. We understand that it is difficult to legislate for every scenario so we place an emphasis on giving employees the tools and guides they need to make ethical decisions in line with our values on being responsible, respectful and straightforward.

Training

  • We periodically hold in-depth ethics workshops for our senior management teams throughout the business. Our last series of workshops was facilitated by the Institute of Business Ethics and focussed on establishing standards, agreeing actions plans and how to cascade key messages and training locally
  • We conduct an annual ethics e-learning programme with all employees which covers all the key areas of our code of ethics including anti-bribery and corruption, responsible lending processes, supplier relations, health and safety and human resources processes. The training contains a test of understanding based on typical dilemmas employees may face in the business and employees must obtain a minimum pass mark in order to complete the training.
  • From 2015 we have also introduced our ethics e-learning programme to our agents and have achieved an 80% successful completion rate in our European businesses. We plan to expand this training programme over the coming years.
  • Our values and code of ethics are included within induction processes for employees

Culture and communications

  • The board and Reputation and Regulation Committee receive regular updates on the ethics programme
  • We maintain ethics as a communications priority both as a stand-alone message and integrated into other business communications
  • We hold an annual ethics week throughout the business with a number of communications initiatives including group discussions, external speakers, games, quizzes and social media updates

Case study: International Ethics Week

Communicating with employees is a huge priority in our business ethics programme. We want to generate employee conversation about how ethics relates to our day-to-day professional lives and the dilemmas we face. Creating an ethical culture is about a genuine tone from the top coupled with a ground-swell of employee interest and our 2015 ethics week sought to encourage this.

  • Our ethics webcast broadcast live from Warsaw allowing employees to watch and interact from each of our locations. Senior business leaders took questions live on air through a chat-functionality and employees voted in a live ethics poll.
  • We produced an ethics film showing the senior leaders from each of our businesses talking about a time they have faced an ethical dilemma in their working lives, how they handled it and what the outcome was
  • We launched the new IPF ‘ethi-check’ which gives employees a simple guide to making ethical decisions. The five questions are designed to frame business decisions from an ethical perspective and to encourage employees to take a holistic approach to decision-making.
  • Would I feel comfortable if I saw my actions printed in a newspaper?
  • Would I be happy if someone treated my family or friends this way?
  • Is this in line with our values to be responsible, straightforward and respectful?
  • Is this in the best interest of our customers?
  • We rolled-out comprehensive ethics training for employees and agents on business ethics. The training was specifically designed around the types of challenges that employees and agents meet in their everyday working life. The training also included a test of understanding on handling these dilemmas. 98% employees and 81% of our European agents successfully completed the training.

“It was a great idea to have the whole week dedicated to Ethics. For me the most useful experience was the webcast with Gerard and our (Polish) Board members and the possibility to ask questions.

We operate in different markets with a different cultural code but we have one thing in common –our values and code of ethics. Due to the engagement of top management I know that it’s really very important to do business ethically.”
Agnieszka Krajnik, CSR Coordinator, Provident Polska

"Once you have in mind that your decision can have a real impact on your colleagues, your customers, your agents or your partners, you might think twice before acting. This is what the ethi-check has helped us to do. We have an improved decision making process and better communication of the situations that might impact on the reputation of the individual or the company."
Marius Nicolaescu, Corporate Affairs Officer, Provident Romania

International Personal Finance is committed to human rights and works to ensure that we do not infringe on any human rights through our operations or business relationships.

We are a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact and these principles are enshrined in our values and Code of Ethics which is communicated to employees, built into our training programmes and integrated into our policies. Human rights forms part of our sustainability and Ethics programme and we provide employees with access to a confidential whistle-blowing hotline to ensure that any concerns can be escalated appropriately. These processes and mechanisms are monitored at our quarterly Reputation and Regulation Committee as well as through our risk management processes. We publish an annual Communication on Progress as part of our membership of the United Nations Global Compact which can be found here.