code ethics

A new poll shows that nearly half of investment professionals are struggling to adhere to the industry’s principal Code of Ethics.

CFA UK’s 2019 annual ethics survey – which comprised the views of nearly 500 investors – showed that while ethics remain a top priority, 43% of respondents find it challenging to adhere to the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

The Code, viewed as a benchmark within the industry, is designed to encourage integrity among the CFA Institute’s 12,000 members.

While the survey revealed the number of professionals struggling to meet the standards has fallen, it remains ‘stubbornly high’.

In addition, the number of individuals who have found it personally challenging to meet the Code’s duties increased to 28% – up from 27% in 2017 and 24% last year.

The standards include placing the integrity of the investment profession and the interests of clients above one’s own personal interests, and using reasonable care and judgment when conducting investment analysis and activities.

Violations of the Code may result in disciplinary sanctions by the CFA Institute.

However, the survey suggests steady progress is being made in terms of recognising the importance of ethics.

Over half (53%) of those surveyed said they wanted to advance their career with a company whose values align with their own – up from 46% two years ago, while 29% stated they visited the CFA UK’s online ethics resources, in the past year versus just 19% in 2017.

The online service includes tools such guidance notes and a whistleblowing helpline.

“The investment sector is characterised by information asymmetries and conflicts of interest,” Will Goodhart, chief executive of CFA UK, said.

“Poor ethical decision-making can have significantly adverse outcomes for clients and for firms. We must continue to ensure that ethical and professional awareness are embedded into firms’ cultures, and that those working in the profession have this front of mind every day,” Goodhart added.

Last Updated: 20 October 2019
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