Ethics in Practice: CFA Exam Comments. Case and Analysis–Week of 24 June
Check the analysis of this week’s case (24 June) to see if you made the right choice.
Strong is a well-known host of a popular financial news program. Two days after the CFA® Exams are held in June, Strong makes a joking comment on her program: “Congratulations to all those who sat for the CFA Exams! I understand the portfolio management questions were amazing this year! Now that the test is over, you can have your life back!” Strong’s actions are
- inappropriate because she shared confidential information about the CFA exam.
- appropriate because the exams are over, so the information is no longer confidential.
- appropriate because she is free to express her opinion about the exam questions.
- appropriate because the fact that the topic portfolio management is tested on the CFA exam is not confidential.
- none of the above.
This case relates to a CFA charterholder’s responsibility to refrain from any conduct that compromises the integrity or security of CFA Institute Programs under CFA Institute Standard VII(A): Conduct as Participants in CFA Institute Programs. Providing confidential exam information to candidates or the public is a violation of this standard. CFA Insitute considers information about past exams confidential until such time as the organization elects to release it publicly. This includes all aspects of the exam, including questions, broad topical areas, and formulas, either tested or not tested.
This confidentiality requirement allows CFA Institute to maintain the integrity and rigor of exams for future candidates. Expressing an opinion about the difficulty or quality of a particular topic area on an exam indirectly divulges the fact that that topic area was tested. In this case, Strong made comments about a broad topic area that was tested on the most recent exam. But CFA Institute publicly acknowledges that the general topic of portfolio management regularly makes up a certain percentage of the CFA Exam each year, so that information is not confidential. If Strong had mentioned that a particular topic in the area of portfolio management was on the test, her statement would have been problematic. Choice D is the best choice.
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More About the Ethics in Practice Series
Just as you need to practice to become proficient at playing a musical instrument, public speaking, or playing a sport, practicing assessing and analyzing situations and making ethical decisions develops your ethical decision-making skills. The Ethics in Practice series gives you an opportunity to “exercise” your ethical decision-making skills. Each week, we post a short vignette, drawn from real-world circumstances, regulatory cases, and CFA Institute Professional Conduct investigations, along with possible responses/actions. We then encourage you to assess the case using the CFA Institute Ethical Decision-Making Framework and through the lens of the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. Then join the conversation and let us know which of the choices you believe is the right one and explain why. Later in the week, we will post an analysis of the case and you can see how your response compares.
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