Beyond ESG: purpose and sensemaking in complex finance

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Next available date: 18 March


Master ethical dilemmas for sound governance and decision-making
The complexity of society’s dynamics and demands from fiduciary responsibilities in finance requires a mindset which bolsters your decision-making quality. To be able to genuinely mitigate risks and seize opportunities for better outcomes, you need to have a keen situational awareness and corresponding reaction capabilities. As values always change, this ‘sharpening of your toolkit’ is an ongoing process. This program provides you with essential insights and tools to structure and enhance your thinking for lowering risks and improving results.

“Many financial firms run into trouble because they take executive decisions without really understanding the ethical implications.”

Eelco Fiole, Adjunct Professor Finance Ethics at the Universities of Lausanne and Neuchatel

Picture this:
you are chairing, overseeing or advising an investment committee. Against the backdrop of a war, you are faced with the question: to divest or not for political or reputational reasons from the profitable but warring countries. What really justifies your decision? What are the alternatives? How may your investors or beneficiaries suffer and what do you tell them? What are you communicating to other stakeholders? How about your fund’s investments in other situations with bad circumstances? In addition to the result of your decision, the process is now of importance as well…

As an actor in finance, your license to operate stems from the perceived contribution you make to society. On the one hand this offers you opportunities to achieve returns by substantiating your purpose. And on the other hand, it harbors risks of disapproval and distrust, potentially leading to substantial reputational and financial losses. How do you ensure that your decisions are sound, today and tomorrow? And such that your organization and profession continue to be seen as relevant and valuable?

You constantly interpret trends and changes, and need to incorporate those interpretations into your financial and investment policies and decisions. Maintaining regulatory compliance is only part of the picture: it is the minimum and does not speak to your and society’s aspirations.

During the 2-day Beyond ESG: purpose and sense making in complex finance program models and tools from moral philosophy and positive psychology will be applied to concrete and real-life financial settings. This enables learning to deal with dilemmas, resulting in better governance and better decision-making. Participants will be actively engaged in formal transfer of knowledge, case study work and group debates.

How you will benefit:

  • Gain structural insights for shaping the agenda for finance in society
  • Improve your understanding of ethical risks and moral dilemmas
  • Sharpen your awareness of the broad spectrum of interests at stake and their governance impact
  • Enriched analytical tools to assess situations/scenarios to decide upon a better course of action
  • Shed a new light on own experiences, inner convictions and personally known and unknown biases

Learn more:
> Executives: get prepared to make better ethically sound decisions

Program length
2 days

Day 1 09:00 – 17:30
Day 2 09:00 – 17:30

Is this program not the right fit for you?
We offer other programs which you might find more interesting or useful, such as:


Day 1

  • How does ethics relate to societal needs as proxied by the Sustainable Development Goals, to corporate purpose for financial services firms, to market operations and to leading concepts in finance?
  • Introduction to ethical thinking and the relationship with economic and legal thinking: sequences, overlaps and differences.
  • How does uncertainty, complexity of wicked non-linear problems, and judgment errors resulting in biases work out on ethical risk?

Day 2

  • How does procedural and substantive fairness work and what are important ethical thinking models including deontology, utilitarianism and virtue ethics?
  • What is agency in finance, when does the fiduciary relationship appear and how do moral versus legal fiduciary duties compare?
  • How do conflicts of interest and duties function, what is the relationship with regulations and what is the impact on governance design?
  • When does the process of ethical evaluation take place, and what is the role of framing and moral intensity on decision making?
  • How do singular notions of ethics relate to organization cultural expressions and how can codes of ethics be effective?

Program preparation

There is some preparatory work required for this program. Pre-readings consist of case materials, chapters of a book and/or a few articles. These materials will be made available on a password protected webpage a few weeks prior to the program.

To ensure maximum benefit from the program for participant and fellow-participants, we strongly advise to prepare prior to attending.


The Beyond ESG: purpose and sensemaking in complex finance program is designed for:

  • Executive and non-executive decision-makers in investments, banking, finance and treasury
  • Senior regulators in financial markets interested in deepening their supervisory execution
  • Legal and financial advisors to top management ambitious to take their counsel to the next level

Please contact us should you feel the need to verify your level of knowledge.

Other programs that might interest you: 


Dr. Eelco Fiole, CFA - Adjunct professor universities of Lausanne and Neuchatel

Eelco Fiole

Dr Eelco Fiole, CFA is co-founder (2015-) and the managing partner of Alpha Governance Partners, a fiduciary services partnership with partners serving as risk governance specialists in complex investments, blockchain, sustainability and fintech, across Europe, North America and Asia. Furthermore, he is adjunct professor finance ethics at the Universities of Lausanne and Neuchatel. Based in Zurich and Singapore and with almost…

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  • 2 days
  • € 2850
  • Expertise, Future of Finance, Risk Management
  • English
  • NEW

Available dates

Need help?

Find your program here or contact us directly for personal advice:
Call us at +31 20 246 7140 or email us at [email protected].

Program flyer

For a more detailed program description and information regarding faculty please download the program document.


This program is eligible for 12 CE credit hours as granted by CFA Society VBA Netherlands

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