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CFA members report tougher environment for professional conduct

CFA members report tougher environment for professional conduct

Members of the CFA Society of the UK are finding it more difficult to adhere to its code of ethics and standards of professional conduct, a survey has revealed.

Asked to rate the ease of meeting the standards on a scale of one to 10, with 10 representing the most difficulty, the average score from CFA members was 3.41 – up from 3.04 a year earlier. More than a third of respondents answered four or above, compared with a quarter in 2013.

Members cited their duties to clients, professionalism and conflicts of interest as the three most challenging areas of the code for them personally over the past year.

Relative to the prior year, however, there was the sharpest increase in concern among members regarding their duties to their employers; 29.8% of respondents flagged it as a challenge, up from 22.6% in 2013.

For the industry as a whole, they highlighted conflicts of interest, duties to clients and the integrity of capital markets as the most serious issues.

‘The challenges of acting in accordance with the code and standards are real and have been felt closer to home by members this year,’ commented CFA UK chief executive Will Goodhart.

‘A year ago respondents suggested that ethics and standards were challenging for the profession as a whole, but to a lesser extent for themselves. This year the difference between the perceived difficulty of meeting the standards for individuals and the profession as a whole has narrowed.

‘This suggests two things: that individuals have greater confidence in investment firms’ commitment to professional and ethical standards, and that this improved commitment by firms is challenging them to be increasingly aware of and accountable for higher standards.’

The survey, conducted in March, received responses from 518 CFA members.

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