fbpixel Concept 99: Ethical Responsibilities Required by the Code and Standards | IFT World
101 Concepts for the Level I Exam

Concept 99: Ethical Responsibilities Required by the Code and Standards

I. Professionalism

A. Knowledge of the law

  • Understand and comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulation.
  • In a case of a conflict, comply with the stricter law.
  • Do not knowingly participate in any violation. Disassociate from such activity.

B. Independence and objectivity

  • Use reasonable care and judgment.
  • Maintain independence and objectivity.
  • Do not offer, solicit or accept gifts; however, small token gifts are ok.

C. Misrepresentation

  • Do not guarantee investment performance.
  • Avoid plagiarism (the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own).
  • Do not omit important facts.

D. Misconduct

  • Do not lie, cheat, steal or behave in a manner that affects your professional reputation or integrity.


II. Integrity of capital markets

A. Material nonpublic information

  • Do not act or help others to act on material nonpublic information. (Information which would be likely to affect a stock’s price once it becomes known to the public).
  • However, mosaic theory (material public information + nonmaterial nonpublic information) is not a violation.

B. Market manipulation

  • Do not manipulate prices/trading volumes to mislead other market participants.
  • Do not spread false rumors.


III. Duties to clients

A. Loyalty, prudence, and care

  • Act with reasonable care and exercise prudent judgment.
  • Place client’s interest before your employer or your interests.
  • Soft dollars must be used for the benefit of the client.
  • Seek best execution.
  • Vote proxies in the best interest of clients.

B. Fair dealing

  • Do not discriminate against any clients when disseminating recommendations and taking investment action.
  • Different level of service is allowed, as long as it does not negatively affect any client.
  • Different service levels should be disclosed to all clients and prospects.

C. Suitability

  • In advisory relationships, develop and update an IPS periodically. Understand the client’s risk profile.
  • In fund/index management, ensure that investments are consistent with the stated mandate.

D. Performance presentation

  • Do not misstate performance.
  • Make detailed information available on request.

E. Preservation of confidentiality

  • Maintain confidentiality of current, former and prospective clients.
  • Unless (1) disclosure is required by law (2) information concerns illegal activities by a client (3) client permits the disclosure.


IV. Duties to employers

A. Loyalty

  • Do not harm your employer.
  • Obtain written consent from the employer before starting an independent practice.
  • Do not take confidential information, client lists, financial models etc. when leaving an employer.

B. Additional compensation arrangements

  • Do not accept gifts, benefits or compensation that will create a conflict of interest with your employer.
  • You may accept if you obtain written consent from all parties involved.

C. Responsibilities of supervisors

  • Prevent employees under your supervision from violating applicable laws, rules, regulations and the Codes and Standards.


V. Investment analysis, recommendations, and actions

A. Diligence and reasonable basis

  • Have a reasonable and adequate basis for any investment analysis, recommendation or action (even when using a third party research).

B. Communication with clients and prospective clients

  • Tell clients about your investment process.
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion.

C. Record retention

  • Maintain records (Standards recommend storing records for at least 7 years).


VI. Conflicts of interest

A. Disclosure of conflicts

  • Disclose conflict of interest in plain language.

B. Priority of transactions

  • Client transactions come before employer transactions which come before personal transactions.
  • Avoid front running.
  • Fee-paying family member should be treated no different than any other client.

C. Referral fees

  • Disclose referral arrangements to clients, prospective clients and employers.
  • Disclosure of referral fees helps the clients evaluate any possible partiality shown in the recommendation of service.


VII. Responsibilities as a CFA Institute member or CFA candidate

A. Conduct as participants in CFA Institute programs

  • Don’t cheat on the exams.
  • Keep questions and exam information confidential.

B. Reference to CFA Institute, the CFA designation, and the CFA program

  • Fill professional conduct statement and pay membership dues annually.
  • References to partial designation not allowed (wrong usage: I am a CFA Level I). However, you can say that you have passed Level I, II or III.
  • Not to be used as a noun. Only use it as an adjective.
  • Do not state that holders of CFA charter are better than others or that they produce better investment results.

2025 CFA Exam Packages Now on Sale! See below.
This is default text for notification bar