Ethics in Practice: Taking the CFA Exam. Case and Analysis–Week of 2 December
Check out the analysis to see how you did in analyzing this week’s case (2 December) and determining which CFA Institute Standard was involved.
Ocampo is sitting for Level II of the CFA® exam. She feels confident that she is prepared for the exam because she has spent many hours studying the curriculum. On the day of the exam, she brings study material with her to the exam site for last minute preparation. Prior to taking her seat, she leaves all her material in the personal belongings area but keeps on her Fitbit when she takes her seat for the exam. About halfway through the afternoon session of the exam, a proctor notices Ocampo wearing the Fitbit. He asks her to remove it and reports Ocampo to CFA Institute. Ocampo’s actions are
- acceptable because the device is common, and she wears it all the time.
- acceptable as long as she never looked at the device or “used it.”
- acceptable because the proctor did not speak to her about the Fitbit before the exam began.
- acceptable if she promptly took the Fitbit to the personal belongings area and left it with her exam preparation materials once notified by the proctor.
- none of the above.
CFA exam rules prohibit the possession of wearable technology, such as a Fitbit or other fitness tracking devices, in the testing room. Devices such as Fitbits have the ability to provide notifications and actual wording of texts and emails. This technology could be used to compromise the integrity of a candidate’s test-taking experience by providing access to exam-related information. Whether the device is common, the candidate routinely wears the device, or the candidate does not use the technology during the exam are not acceptable excuses for violating this policy. Candidates are responsible for knowing, understanding, and abiding by all CFA exam rules and procedures. Although CFA exam administrators vigilantly enforce testing rules and diligently bring nonconforming conduct to the attention of candidates prior to the start of the exam, candidates cannot rely on the proctors or other test center personnel to notice and prevent candidates from violating CFA exam rules and procedures.
Even if Ocampo promptly took the Fitbit to the personal belongings area during the afternoon session, this belated compliance with the policy does not obviate her misconduct on that point. Ocampo’s conduct violated CFA exam rules and policies as well as the CFA Institute Standard of Professional Conduct VII(A): Conduct as Participants in CFA Institute Programs by engaging in conduct that compromises the integrity, validity, or security of the CFA Program. She will be subject to an investigation by the CFA Institute Professional Conduct Program and, if found to be in violation, her exam results will be voided. Choice E is the best response.
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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.
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