Views on improving the integrity of global capital markets
27 June 2019

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.

Case

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

  1. inappropriate because she shared confidential information about the CFA exam.
  2. appropriate because the exams are over, so the information is no longer confidential.
  3. appropriate because she is free to express her opinion about the exam questions.
  4. appropriate because the fact that the topic portfolio management is tested on the CFA exam is not confidential.
  5. none of the above.

Analysis

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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Have an idea for a case for us to feature? Send it to us at ethicscases@cfainstitute.org.


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.


Image Credit: ©CFA Institute

About the Author(s)
Jon Stokes

Jon Stokes is the Director of Ethics and Standards Education at CFA Institute. His responsibilities include design and creation of on-line ethics education, development and maintenance of the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, and the design and management of the CFA Institute Ethical Decision-Making and Giving Voice to Values education programs. Stokes holds a JD degree.

22 thoughts on “Ethics in Practice: CFA Exam Comments. Case and Analysis–Week of 24 June”

  1. Shallu Ahuja says:

    D

  2. Rohit Ramnath says:

    A, because the comment on the topic area tested was not appropriate. Violation of Standard VII A.

  3. Charles says:

    C
    It’s public information that all topics are tested in the exam

  4. Charles says:

    D
    It’s public information that all topics are tested in the exam

  5. Poonam Gupta says:

    A. Because she commented on the easy stuff on portfolio management

  6. Amar says:

    Answer is A. You are not supposed to disclose which topic areas were tested post exam. Its a violation of standard 7A.

  7. Heet Gor says:

    appropriate because she is free to express her opinion about the exam questions

  8. Makinde Samuel says:

    C

  9. Simarpreet Singh says:

    B

  10. KofiA says:

    CFA exam info is confidential. The portfolio management questions were amazing leaves an impression that there were questions on this topic on the test.

  11. Pulkit Malhotra says:

    D.

  12. Gargi Jain says:

    Is the answer D

  13. Derron Williams says:

    Answer is D. Given that all topics of the CFA curriculum are classified as testable material, it is assumed that all topics will be covered in the exam. Therefore stating that portfolio management questions were amazing is not a disclosure of private/confidential information but rather an opinion of the difficulty of the questions.

  14. Go says:

    Either C or D, but its really frustrating how there isn’t an answer available within this page and you have to wait a week for it.

    Also this case doesn’t seem to invoke that much of an ethical quagmire, so I don’t see the point of having to discuss what the right answer is.

    We should be discussing questions like “Should we encourage state-owned insurers to defraud rich elderly customers and produce more de facto tax revenue to promote inter-generational wealth equality?”

  15. Peter Charway says:

    Thanks for sharing these tricky questions on Ethics. I also look forward to the comments.
    With best regards,
    pcharway

  16. Kishan Patil says:

    D

  17. Dileep Singh says:

    appropriate because the fact that the topic portfolio management is tested on the CFA exam is not confidential.

  18. Haresh says:

    Answer is D:
    Appropriate because the fact that the topic portfolio management is tested on the CFA exam is not confidential.

  19. Jonny Bluesmaker says:

    D

  20. Mohamed says:

    Answer is D.

  21. Dair says:

    Nobody here believes that the answer is E?

  22. Malaba says:

    I got it correct😊😁

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