Practical analysis for investment professionals
07 May 2012

CFA Institute Integrity List: 50 Ways to Restore Trust in the Investment Industry

The CFA Institute Integrity List is a collection of 50 tangible steps that investment professionals can take to restore trust in the industry. The list was inspired by “real-world” ideas from CFA charterholders and members.

  1. Commit to a gold standard code of ethics and professional conduct [See CFA Institute Code of Ethics].
  2. Require training on ethical decision-making for yourself and your firm.
  3. Place the client’s interests before your own.
  4. Name and shame unethical behavior.
  5. Recommend products with transparent payoffs, costs, and risks.
  6. Help clients focus on risk as much as they do on performance.
  7. Disclose your educational achievements and how you improve professional competence.
  8. Strive for a conflict-free business model.
  9. Advocate for stronger regulations that protect investors.
  10. Act with integrity 24/7 — not just at the office.
  11. Encourage young professionals to have the courage to disagree.
  12. Keep client fees fair.
  13. Be transparent with clients when something goes wrong.
  14. Actively disclose all compensation arrangements to clients.
  15. Lead by example with your firm and colleagues.
  16. Write articles and speak publicly about ethics.
  17. Act with fairness and prudence with every decision.
  18. Present analysis based on facts and client needs.
  19. Always be honest with clients.
  20. Never overlook unethical behavior because you’re better served by ignorance.
  21. Never engage in misleading sales promotions.
  22. Mentor future investment industry professionals.
  23. Vocally demand that your firm does what is right for clients.
  24. Tip the balance between competing interests in favor of clients.
  25. Outline exactly how you are managing a client’s funds.
  26. Disseminate transparent, accurate and timely information.
  27. Be clear about situational influences in your environment.
  28. Base investment recommendations on strong analysis.
  29. Adhere to high standards even if they are not required in your country.
  30. Elevate the importance of integrity in the hiring process.
  31. Disclose information in ways even novice investors can understand.
  32. Adopt Global Investment Performance Standards.
  33. Maintain regular contact with clients.
  34. Openly share bad news with all who are affected.
  35. Listen to clients’ concerns and fears.
  36. Promote the concept of earning money rather than making money.
  37. Create an ethical work culture that allows constructive criticism.
  38. Bring an ethical dimension to discussions of business strategy.
  39. Adopt the CFA Institute Asset Manager Code of Professional Conduct.
  40. Remind junior associates that reputations are hard earned and easily lost.
  41. Take responsibility for the actions of your team.
  42. Use social media to comment about the values you uphold.
  43. Act as an expert resource for journalists.
  44. Refuse to associate with anyone who takes advantage of clients.
  45. Bring to justice those who take part in irresponsible and illegal activities.
  46. Recommend companies with fair practices and good corporate governance.
  47. Advocate for technology that makes the industry more transparent.
  48. Engage and build relationships with local regulators and policy makers.
  49. Serve on committees that advocate for regulatory reform.
  50. Become a member of CFA Institute and sign the required annual ethics statement.

Number 50 illustration from Shutterstock.

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