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Standards of Practice Handbook and Guidance

The Standards of Professional Conduct taught in the CFA Program and by which CFA Institute members and candidates must abide represent timeless ethical principles and professional conduct for all market conditions. Through adherence to these standards each market participant does his or her part to improve the integrity and efficient operations of the financial markets.

The Standards of Practice provide guidance to the people who grapple with real ethical dilemmas in the investment profession on a daily basis; they address the professional intersection where theory meets practice and where the concept of ethical behavior crosses from the abstract to the concrete.

Download the Standards of Practice Handbook, 11th edition (PDF)

Why Ethics Matters to the Investment Industry (Updated October 2017)

Recognizing Professional Activities (Added January 2019)

Standards of Practice Guidance, Procedures for Compliance, and Examples

Standard I: Professionalism

Standard II: Integrity of Capital Markets

Standard III: Duties to Clients

Standard IV: Duties to Employers

Standard V: Investment Analysis, Recommendations, and Actions

Standard VI: Conflicts of Interest

Standard VII: Responsibilities as a CFA Institute Member or CFA Candidate

 Standards of Practice Exam

The Standards of Practice exam consists of multiple-choice questions based on the current Standards of Practice Handbook. You take the exam online, it is graded electronically, and you receive your score immediately. 

Who should take the exam?

  • Individuals who have not passed Level I of the CFA Program but wish to join CFA Institute as a regular member
  • CFA Institute members who wish to earn CE credit for successfully completing the exam
  • Member society applicants who are required to pass the exam
  • Anyone — students, young professionals, prospective employees — who has been asked to test for understanding of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct

How do I access the exam?

  • To meet membership requirements: If you are required to take the exam, you will be prompted to complete the exam when you activate your membership. Once you pass the exam, you will be able to complete the membership activation process.
  • To voluntarily self-test your understanding: Access the exam.

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