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Ethical Decision-Making

For investment professionals

Identify. Consider. Act. Reflect.

These steps form the foundation of the ethical decision-making framework we developed to guide investment professionals as they resolve ethical dilemmas in the best interests of their clients.

Using case studies to illustrate real-world situations, we've designed the online ethics course, interactive webinars, and in-person workshops to help you apply this framework with confidence.

The ethical decision-making framework

Download your guide to the framework (PDF)

Read the article: "Can Investment Management Ethics Be Taught?" (PDF)

How to Apply the Ethical Decision-Making Framework

Game-based Course

Ethical Decision-Making for Investment Professionals
This self-paced, 90-minute online course presents the ethical decision-making framework and uses multi-media case studies to show you how to apply the framework in the real world. Your score is the number of clients earned as a result of the decisions you make.

Available 24/7; login required

Note: This course is offered through our Learning Management System which is optimized for the following browser versions: Microsoft®Internet Explorer® versions 8-11; Google Chrome™ versions 33-43; Apple®Safari® version 3.2.3 (PC) and 4.0 (Mac); Firefox versions 27-39

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Interactive Webinars with CFA Institute Staff

Introduction to Ethical Decision-Making
This 60-minute webinar introduces the ethical decision-making framework and how to apply it.
CE credit: 1 (SER credit: 1)
Date/time: 16 January 2019 12:00—1:00 p.m.

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Exploring Additional Case Studies
This 60-minute webinar builds on the introductory webinar, using additional case studies to practice applying the framework.
CE credit: 1 (SER credit 1)
Date/time: 13 February 2019; 12:00—1:00 p.m.

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Ethical Decision-Making Workshops for Your Firm

We can provide in-person Ethical Decision-Making Workshops for your employees.  The objective of the workshop is to increase employees’ awareness of and ability to analyze and act upon common ethical dilemmas they may confront in the workplace.
 
Contact ethicstraining@cfainstitute.org to discuss training solutions for your firm.

Ethics Cases - Ethics in Practice

Test your ethical decision-making skills with these short cases based on real-world scenarios.

You can download the cases for classroom instruction or access the cases online and join the conversation with your peers through our Market Integrity Insights blog.

About the Ethical Decision-Making Framework

We developed this Identify-Consider-Act-Reflect framework for ethical decision making to help investment professionals like you analyze and evaluate ethical scenarios where there is not a clear "right" and "wrong" path.

This framework is not a linear checklist, but a summary of the key elements of making ethical decisions. Although you will likely encounter unique influences, conflicts, and actions beyond those detailed below, this framework can help you make ethical decisions in common day-to-day situations.

  1. Identify

    Ethical principles: Which fundamental investment professional principles (fair dealing, full disclosure, loyalty, diligence, etc.) are at issue?

    Duties to others: To whom do you owe a duty? Your client, employer, colleagues, others? Some duties, such as protecting the integrity of the capital markets, may be more important than others.

    Important facts: What facts do you know and what additional information do you need to make an informed decision?

    Conflicts of interest: Are there any encumbrances, relationships, or incentives influencing your actions?

  2. Consider

    Situational Influences: Are outside pressures (such as conforming to the group or obeying authority) or internal biases (such as overconfidence) affecting your decision?

    Alternative Actions: Have you brainstormed multiple solutions and avoided a particular preconceived path?

    Additional Guidance: Have you sought the independent, objective assessment of other people to gain additional perspective?

  3. Act

    Make a decision: The specific action required depends on the individual aspects of the situation. Your decision may require multiple actions or steps, or none at all.

    Elevate the issue to a higher authority: Alternatively, the best course of action may be to elevate your concerns to a more appropriate person. You may need to follow up with the other person to ensure appropriate action was taken.

  4. Reflect

    What did you learn?: After you take action, review the path you chose. The lessons you learn will help you reach ethical decisions more quickly in the future.

    Know your strengths and weaknesses: Regardless of the consequences your decisions and actions bring, understanding your strengths and weaknesses will help you make ethical decisions in the future.

Contact us with any additional questions

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