Lloyds Banking Group is hiring its first ever Group Head of Data Ethics. The role will be responsible for leading discussions on the ethics of using new data and embedding data ethics checks across the group, said the bank’s UK chief data and analytics officer Ranil Botteju. Technical monitor.

The new group head of data ethics will help Lloyds Banking Group offer more personalized customer propositions without compromising ethics. (Photo by Lubo Ivanko / iStock)

The role of Lloyds’ new group head of data ethics will be “responsible for crafting and aligning our data ethics strategy, standards and priorities, ensuring that ‘ethics by design’ and ‘data used for good’ are embedded throughout the group,” says the bank in his job description.

Responsibilities include educating business and “platform” teams on the importance of data ethics and promoting the adoption of “data ethics methodology, tools, checks and monitoring.”

“The head of our data ethics group will be a special role for someone who can play a leading role in bringing together teams and people with different perspectives,” explained Botteggio. “They will also bring insight into emerging technology trends and embed best practices in using data as a force for good.”

Data ethics roles are increasingly common, particularly in financial services. According to job analytics data from GlobalData, there were 96 active data ethics jobs in the banking and payments sector last month, more than half of all available data ethics positions.

To date, data ethics professionals in the financial sector have often come from a model risk background, Botteju said, “people with experience in evaluating credit risk models from a model risk perspective.”

But Lloyds will look at candidates from a variety of backgrounds, Botteggio said. “We are equally open to people with different backgrounds—such as those with backgrounds in ethics and philosophy—who could bridge the gap between the technical and the non-technical.” Ethical discussions can be highly subjective, Botteggio explained, so the ability to communicate and lead of constructive discussions will be essential.

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The creation of the new role is part of a group-wide investment in data capabilities announced as part of Lloyds’ group strategy earlier this year. Through these investments, the bank aims to “personalize and deepen our relationships [with customers] while ensuring that we face the ethical considerations raised by new uses of data,” Botteggio said.

Why do companies hire data ethics consultants?

The capabilities of data and artificial intelligence are evolving rapidly, and regulations are struggling to keep pace. Businesses often hire data ethicists to ensure that new and emerging data applications do not harm their users – or expose them to future legal liabilities – when regulation does not provide sufficient guidance.

In a report on data ethics published earlier this year, scientists at German tech giant Merck explained that an ethics-based approach allows companies to reduce the risk of harm when regulation has not yet caught up with technology. “Furthermore, many ethical “should” questions go beyond the scope typically provided by legal regulations, which provide practitioners primarily with answers to “can” questions,” they write.

This may explain why US-based companies that do not have a national privacy law are hiring data ethicists at a faster rate than those in other countries, according to GlobalData data.

UK employers with senior roles responsible for data ethics include BT, the Welsh Governmentand UK Statistics Authority.

Read more: AI ethics in action: How Merck created its own code of digital ethics

Lloyds Banking Group is hiring its first dedicated data ethics chief

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