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MBA402 Code of Conduct in National Bank Australia Assessment Answer

Assessment Information

Subject Code:MBA402
Subject Name:Governance, Ethics, and Sustainability
Assessment Title:Code of Conduct
Weighting:30%


Assessment Description

You are required to research recent news articles and other information about National Australia Bank.

You must then draft a Code of Conduct for National Australia Bank that specifically addresses:

  1. Discrimination

  2. Exploitation
  3. Corruption
  4. Dishonest and Fraudulent Behaviour
  5. Whistleblower Protections
  6. Enforcement

You will be required to include a minimum of 15 references in your Code of Conduct at least 5 of which must come from academic journals or textbooks.

For further guidance here are the links to three example company codes of conduct:

  1. Wesfarmers - http://www.wesfarmers.com.au/docs/default-source/corporate-governance/code- of-conduct---may-2015.pdf?sfvrsn=8
  2. Stockland - https://www.stockland.com.au/about-stockland/corporate-governance
  3. Woolworths - http://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/icms_docs/183764_Code_of_Conduct.pdf

Answer

Code of Conduct: National Australia Bank

National Australia Bank Group commits to conduct their organisational behaviour in the most professional and diligent manners possible. The professional conducts of National Australian Bank Group are directed to foster dependence, assurance and goodwill amongst their customers, employees, suppliers as well as the community to be respectful to human rights. The motto of the National Australia Bank is to act with sincerity, integrity and equality. They focus on managing conflicts of interests as they meet their legal and regulatory obligations and voluntary loyalties and promises to sustain their internal standards. Adherence to confidentiality and dealing with suspected breaches are two of the significant norms that National Australia Bank religiously follows to maintain their professional dignity (Cranston, 2018).

National Australia Bank Group has incorporated this code of conduct as a set of guiding principles that are expected to be observed wholeheartedly by all the National Australia Bank Group personnel. Everyone associated with the company is held accountable against this code of conduct. National Australia Bank Group personnel are expected to always act consistently with the principles demonstrated in this code of conduct (Adams et al., 2016).

Principles of the Code of conduct:

A. Discrimination:

The National Australia Bank Group personnel are expected to behave professionally to foster conviction, confidence and goodwill amongst all the customers, suppliers, colleagues and the community. Discrimination is one of the key elements of the Human Rights Policy which National Australia Bank Group particularly takes into consideration (Bartlett III, 2015). In order to reduce workplace discrimination the National Australia Bank Group has set out certain protocols, such as:

  • Treating the customers, co-workers and community members with dignity, equality and respect.
  • Complying with the fortitudes and necessities of all the regulations, policies, laws and procedures to ensure the application of them in the individual roles. All the personnel associated with the National Australia Bank Group should hold themselves accountable to ensure a discrimination-free work environment (Nab.com.au. 2019). 
  • Access to any specific information related to a particular customer or a co-worker should be specifically authorised.
  • The personnel are requested to always be in compliance with the terms and conditions of all the policies. Any non-compliance with the terms and conditions might withdraw the choices and opinions of the employees (Batten et al., 2018).
  • All the people associated with the National Australia Bank Group are strictly forbidden to indulge in any activities of unfairness or favouritism based on the sexual, racial, ethical or social identities of any customer or co-worker. Immediate action will be taken on the part of the company against employees who would display any such unacceptable behaviour (Nab.com.au. 2019). 

B. Exploitation:

National Australia Bank Group believes in treating their existing and impending customers as well as employees fairly. According to the codes of conducts of the bank, demonstrating fairness is equal to preventing exploitation.  Prohibition of exploitation refers to establish fairness in the treatment of the customers. The products or services provided to the customers should be ethical and lawful. Customer exploitation is offering customers with inappropriate services (Carè, 2018).

  • Employees should always adhere to local laws and regulations in order to ensure that customer right are not exploited (Dixon, 2016).
  • The employees are expected not to involve in any false, deceptive or ambiguous representations to persuade a customer into entering a transaction or into service without their proper approval (Dixon, 2016).
  • Using of the confidential information of the customers as well as the employees for the benefit of a third party (a customer or an employee) will be treated as the exploitation of the policies of the company (Nab.com.au. 2019). 
  • Every single National Australia Bank Group personnel are expected not to exhibit any engagement with collusive behaviour against the rivals of NAB. Collusive behaviour will also be considered as exploitation. So, NAB urges the employees to compete honestly so that they can abide by the laws and regulations of operation (Nab.com.au. 2019). 

C. Dishonest and Fraudulent Behaviour/ Corruption:

National Australia Bank Group is collectively responsible for preventing dishonest and fraudulent behaviour as well as corruption. Corruption or forgeries encourage dishonest behaviour, and they are contrary to the principles of integration as well as fairness. Corruption might also suggest that NAB is adopting dishonest means to conduct their activities which is extremely harmful for the reputation of the company amongst the customers, suppliers, the investment community and the shareholders (Du Plessis et al., 2017). Dishonest/fraudulent behaviour or corruption will eventually lead to potential financial loss or undue advantages, such as,

  • Money, property and data theft
  • Deliberate falsification, concealing and destruction of relevant documents 
  • Bribery (Nab.com.au. 2019). 

In any cases of suspicious behaviour of fraud and corruption, products and services should be discontinued. Deliberate frauds or acts of corruption should be treated under criminal activity. The people leaders should be immediately informed in situations of suspicious acts of corruption or if pressurised by a co-worker or customer to adopt illegal or offensive means. NAB solemnly urges all of its personnel to report any events of fraud or corruption to the Group Whistleblower Program through the FairCall services. In any case, if anyone fails to report an act of corruption or fraud, it will be considered as a forgery itself (Evans and Niesche, 2016).

  • The Anti-Fraud Policy of NAB provides the outline of the responsibility of the bank to demonstrate honest act as well as a serious adherence to the internal procedures of control specifically designed for the prevention of fraudulent activities (Nab.com.au. 2019).  
  • Simultaneously, the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy illustrates the particular approach and responsibilities of NAB to comply with the applicability of the legal as well as dictatorial necessities to reduce bribery and corruption (Howell, 2015).
  • The Anti Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Policy and Economic and Trade Sanctions Policy demonstrate the directions of NAB to meet its legal and regulatory obligations (Foo, 2017).

To prevent fraudulent behaviour, NAB directs all the personnel to observe these following rules strictly: 

  • The employees should not acknowledge or offer bribes or any unauthorised payments. National Australia Bank Group employees must not indulge in accepting or delivering any irregular payments for the purpose of business benefits or influencing an investment decision in favour of NAB to attract/retain customers. All the consultants and contractors associated with the bank come under this restriction (Kumar and Prakash, 2018).
  •  Acceptance of undue advantages such as gifts, hospitality or leisure will be counted as breaching of the policies of NAB (Nab.com.au. 2019).  
  • Every single customer should be dealt with utmost professionalism which means under no circumstances should the employees be improperly influenced by any political or governmental official or vice versa. The primary motto of the NAB personnel should be to avoid any opportunities and insights of gaining an advantage (Monga, 2017).

D. Whistleblower Protection:

The National Australia Bank Group is devoted to the promotion of an organisational culture of compliance, honesty and ethical integrity to encourage the exposure of potentially suspicious of wrongdoing. The Whistleblower Protection Policy of the National Australia Bank Group is reflective of the commitment of the Group to the demonstration of the finest standards of ethical conducts by:

  • Encouraging the personnel to report any suspicious or actual wrongdoing;
  • Securing and supporting the dignity, welfare and goodwill of the people who disclose an act of corruption;
  • Promoting a culture that encourages constant improvement (Nab.com.au. 2019).  

The Whistleblower Policy applies to all the personnel associated with NAB. The people who disclose an act of corruption should be aware of certain specific statutory protections to secure their privacy rights protected by Australian legislation. According to the Whistleblower Policy, the people who are entitled to commence a disclosure with this policy are the:

  • Directors
  • Officers
  • Employees
  • Contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Agents
  • Employees from outsourced service providers
  • Volunteers
  • Former employees
  • Former non-executive directors (Sethi et al., 2017).

The wrongdoings that are encouraged by NAB to be reported for being out of the conduct, illegal, offensive or objectionable are inclusive of: 

  • Fraud:

Frauds are dishonest activities that can potentially cause major financial loss or turns out to be an unjust benefit to the Group itself or any personnel associated with it. The fraudulent behaviour can involve customers or third parties related to NAB (Worthington, 2016).

  • Questionable Accounting:

Accounting practices that are apparently legal but fails to comply with the intended spirit of the auditing standards and accounting laws of NAB should be reported to the Whistleblower Program (Nab.com.au. 2019). 

  • Corruption:

The dishonest act from an employee or contractor to properly represent ethical performances should be reported to this program. Other than that, employees who dishonestly misuse the status of their employment in obtaining a benefit for him/ her or a third party should also be immediately reported (Nab.com.au. 2019). 

  • Regulatory nonconformity:

Demonstration of illegal behaviours such as theft, drug dealing, violence, criminal offence, property damage and legislation breach are parts of regulatory nonconformity that should be reported to the Whistleblower Program (Nab.com.au. 2019). 

  • Bribery:

Offering bribes or presenting another person to influence a personal or business oriented with getting a business advantage is considered to be an offence. Bribery is intended to obtain a business/personal advantage where there is no legitimate benefit irrespective of whether or not the recipient is a potential target of the benefit (Nab.com.au. 2019). 

The National Australia Bank Group is dedicated to providing justice, equality, support and protection to those who report of the wrongdoings. NAB is non-negotiable at any instances of reprisals or intimidations by any personnel associated with the group to the disclosing individual. The Whistleblower Program is committed to taking appropriate measurements in order to support the well-being of a disclosing individual from any unpleasant actions by protecting the anonymity and confidentiality of their identity (Dixon, 2016).

E. Enforcement:

The National Australia Bank Group strictly focuses on meeting their legal and regulatory obligations as well as voluntary pledges and internal standardisations. The Group directs all of its personnel to comply with the laws, regulations and codes that are pertinent to the National Australia Bank Group as a leading economic service and credit provider so that they can sustain the market competitions. The reason as to why NAB is so focused about their enforcement is because it might leave a long-term impact on the impressions of the customers about their services. The personnel are also recommended to comply with the internal policies and procedures of the Group as a part of fundamental legal expectations. In cases of failure to protect the enforcement, the respective NAB personnel are suggested to instantaneously report to their people leader or the divisional compliance team about the suspicious act of nonconformity and disobedience (Cranston, 2018).

The enforcement breaches are inclusive of:

  • Not being able to prioritise the expectations of the customers over the personal/collective interests of Nab
  • Offering unsuitable or inappropriate credit recommendations to a customer
  • Inability to suspicious cash transactions
  • Offering recommendations while not being properly trained or unauthorised
  • Failure of disclosing as well as documenting conflicts of interest, gifts and leisure activities as part of the personal security amendments of the industrial standards
  • Acting beyond the authorisations on the behalf of NAB or the business unit of the Group
  • Incomplete audit issues
  • Failure to complete the questionnaires associated with assurance and declaration honestly and timely
  • Acceptance of a conflicted benefit of compensation
  • Incapable of completing the compulsory risk training within the due date 
  • Failure of maintaining the confidentiality of a customer in cases of experiencing family and domestic violence (Nab.com.au. 2019). 

As per the regulations of NAB, it is the responsibility of the people leader to make sure that the employees are knowledgeable enough to meet their respective compliance requirements. If there are any occasions of non-compliance, it should immediately be addressed timely. NAB also reminds the people leaders that their Conduct Gate might be heavily impacted if they fail to efficiently manage a code breach by any of their team members (Kumar and Prakash, 2018)

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