Practical analysis for investment professionals

Standards, Ethics & Regulations (SER)


Codes of Ethics: If You Adopt One, Will They Behave?

Many institutions involved in the financial skullduggery that caused the 2008 crisis had adopted codes of ethics long before the housing bubble burst. Even Enron had espoused lofty ideals in it's official code. So why aren’t codes effective in deterring unethical behavior?

Ethics Roundup

Unfortunately, stories of unethical behavior by both individuals and financial institutions continue to dominate the business news headlines. Insider trading and the integrity of asset managers' performance reports have been major themes over the past few months.

Dubious Measures: Hedge Funds’ Reporting Draws Scrutiny

There is a plethora of research that has documented a number of “irregularities” in self-reported hedge fund returns. These studies have found that some hedge funds reported smoothed returns, reported disproportionately more small positive returns than negative returns, and reported higher returns in December.

Take 15 Series: The Benefits of Complying with the GIPS Standards

Iain W. McAra provides insight into the many benefits gained by firms claiming compliance with the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS®). He also discusses how firms can leverage compliance for stronger internal controls and better portfolio oversight.

Occupy Wall Street and Islamic Finance: Economic Justice Is Enticing — But Elusive

Both OWS movement and Islamic finance aspire to reduce economic injustice but experience of Islamic financial sector shows that economic justice is enticing but elusive.

The Hildebrand Case: Ethics and the Power of Perception

The recent scandal that led Swiss National Bank chairman Philipp Hildebrand to resign highlights the difference between what is legal and what is ethical. The law tells us what we “can and cannot do,” whereas ethics tells us what we “should and should not do.”

Take 15: Valuation: Lessons Learned from the Crisis

Steven J. Sherman discusses the role of the International Valuation Standards Council and how it differs from that of the accounting standard setters. Mr. Sherman also provides his thoughts on the large number of restatements by public companies in recent years due to valuation issues.

The Consequences of Insider Trading: A Cautionary Tale

Who says that one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch? Just ask FrontPoint Partners who saw its assets under management decline with breathtaking speed—dropping by $6 billion in eight months—after one of the firm’s portfolio managers was caught… READ MORE ›

Book Reviews: Swindlers

Effective 1 January 2011, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) became mandatory for Canadian public companies. Proponents of IFRS adoption argued that it would enhance global comparability of financial statements. The authors of Swindlers: Cons & Cheats and How to Protect Your Investments from Them argue, on the contrary, that “differences in laws, regulations, taxes, cultures, education, ethics, training, traditions, enforcement, and optimism make uniformity an opium dream.”

Take 15: Ethics in Investment Management

Industry expert Marianne M. Jennings discusses the ethical issues present in the financial crisis including the seven signs of ethical collapse, cross-cultural differences in ethics, and what universities can do to promote ethical behavior.



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