Chinese walls

Chinese wall refers to an ethical barrier between different divisions of a financial or other institution to avoid conflicts of interest. It is said to exist, for example, between the corporate-advisory area and the brokering department of a financial services firm to separate employees giving corporate advice on takeovers from those advising clients about buying shares. The „wall” is established to prevent leaks of corporate inside information, which could influence the advice given to clients making investments, or allow staff to take advantage of facts not yet known to the general public. Maintaining client confidentiality is crucial to any firm but is particularly crucial for large multiservice businesses. When firms are providing a wide range of services, clients must be able to trust that information about themselves will not be exploited for the benefit of other clients with different interests, in other words trust in Chinese walls. However, some Wall Street scandals in recent years have made some people doubt the effectiveness of Chinese walls, as some executives of respectable firms have traded illegally on inside information for their own benefit.
(adapted from Investopedia.com)


Ex. 1 Match the words in the column with their equivalents from the text:

1. dział
2. przejęcie
3. akcja
4. wyciek
5. rada
6. inwestycja
7. personel
8. skuteczność

• advice

• division

• effectiveness

• investment

• leak

• share

• staff

• takeover


Ex. 2 Complete the collocations with the correct word:

advice / barrier / brokering / business / client / conflict / information / public

1. ethical _________________

2. _________________ of interest

3. _________________ department

4. corporate _________________

5. inside _________________

6. general _________________

7. _________________ confidentiality

8. multiservice _________________


Ex.3 Say these sentences in English using some expressions from the previous exercises:

1. Opinia publiczna nie powinna mieć dostępu (have access) do wewnętrznych informacji.
2. Zapewniamy (provide) doradztwo korporacyjne w zakresie (on) przejęć.
3. W naszym sektorze (sector) szczególnie (particularly) musimy unikać konfliktów interesów.


I know English idioms:

This lesson’s text uses the word “benefit” a few times e.g. “for their own benefit”. We would explore, however, a different idiomatic expression:
• to reap the benefit = to get something good as a result of your own actions (czerpać korzyści, zbierać żniwo)
➢ She worked hard day and night and reaped the benefit at the time of her performance appraisal.


Phrasals, phrasals…

Another word used in our reading text this lesson is “trade” (handlować). Why not to explore this word as phrasal verb?
• to trade on something = to use something for your own advantage and usually in an unfair way (wykorzystać coś)
➢ This kind of advertising trades on people’s fears.


Grammar corner…

One of the sentences of the text begins like this: “ It is said to exist (…)”, which can translate into Polish as “ Mówi się, że (ktoś/coś) istnieje…”. The structure uses the passive voice combined with an infinitive. Here are a few similar examples:
➢ It is believed to be… – Wierzy się, że jest…
➢ It is considered to finish… – Uważa się, że się skończy…
➢ It is presumed to have… – Zakłada się, że ma…



Chinese wall – chiński mur
to refer to – odnosić się do
ethical barrier – etyczna bariera
division – dział, pion
to avoid – unikać
conflict of interest – konflikt interesów
it is said to – mówi się, że
to exist – istnieć
corporate advisory – doradztwo korporacyjne
area – o  obszar
brokering department – dział brokerski
financial services firm – firma świadcząca usługi finansowe
to separate – oddzielić
employee – pracownik
to give advice / to advise – doradzać
takeover – przejęcie
to buy shares – kupować akcje
to establish – ustanawiać
to prevent – zapobiegać
leak – wyciek
inside information – wewnętrzne informacje
to influence – wpływać na
to make investment – inwestować
to allow sb -umożliwić coś komuś
staff – personel
to take advantage of – korzystać z
not yet known – jeszcze nieznane
general public – opinia publiczna
to maintain – urzym(yw)ać
confidentiality – poufność
crucial – nieodzowne
particularly – szczególnie
multiservice business – firma świadcząca różnorodne usługi
to provide – zapewniać
wide range – szeroki zakres
to trust – ufać
to be exploited – zostać wykorzystanym
for the benefit – na korzyść
to doubt – wątpić
effectiveness – skuteczność
executive – dyrektor
respectable – szanowany
to trade – handlować
illegally – nielegalnie

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Ex.1 1. division 2. takeover 3. share 4. leak 5. advice 6. investment 7. staff 8. effectiveness Ex.2 1. ethical barrier 2. conflict of interest 3. brokering department 4. corporate advice 5. inside information 6. general public 7. client confidentiality 8. multiservice business Ex.3 1. General public should not have access to inside information. 2. We provided corporate advice on takeovers. 3. In our sector we particularly have to avoid conflicts of interest.