Subject 3. The Seven Standards of Professional Conduct

I. PROFESSIONALISM

  A. Knowledge of the Law. Members and candidates must understand and comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations (including the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct) of any government, regulatory organization, licensing agency, or professional association governing their professional activities. In the event of conflict, members and candidates must comply with the more strict law, rule, or regulation. Members and candidates must not knowingly participate or assist in and must dissociate from any violation of such laws, rules, or regulations.

  B. Independence and Objectivity. Members and candidates must use reasonable care and judgment to achieve and maintain independence and objectivity in their professional activities. Members and candidates must not offer, solicit, or accept any gift, benefit, compensation, or consideration that reasonably could be expected to compromise their own or another's independence and objectivity.

  C. Misrepresentation. Members and candidates must not knowingly make any misrepresentations relating to investment analysis, recommendations, actions, or other professional activities.

  D. Misconduct. Members and candidates must not engage in any professional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, or deceit or commit any act that reflects adversely on their professional reputation, integrity, or competence.

II. INTEGRITY OF CAPITAL MARKETS

  A. Material Nonpublic Information. Members and candidates who possess material nonpublic information that could affect the value of an investment must not act or cause others to act on the information.

  B. Market Manipulation. Members and candidates must not engage in practices that distort prices or artificially inflate trading volume with the intent to mislead market participants.

III. DUTIES TO CLIENTS

  A. Loyalty, Prudence, and Care. Members and candidates have a duty of loyalty to their clients and must act with reasonable care and exercise prudent judgment. Members and candidates must act for the benefit of their clients and place their clients' interests before their employer's or their own interests.

  B. Fair Dealing. Members and candidates must deal fairly and objectively with all clients when providing investment analysis, making investment recommendations, taking investment action, or engaging in other professional activities.

  C. Suitability.

  • When members and candidates are in an advisory relationship with a client, they must:
        a. Make a reasonable inquiry into a client's or prospective client's investment experience, risk and return objectives, and financial constraints prior to making any investment recommendation or taking investment action and must reassess and update this information regularly.
        b. Determine that an investment is suitable to the client's financial situation and consistent with the client's written objectives, mandates, and constraints before making an investment recommendation or taking investment action.
        c. Judge the suitability of investments in the context of the client's total portfolio.
  • When members and candidates are responsible for managing a portfolio to a specific mandate, strategy, or style, they must only make investment recommendations or take investment actions that are consistent with the stated objectives and constraints of that portfolio.

  D. Performance Presentation. When communicating investment performance information, members or candidates must make reasonable efforts to ensure that it is fair, accurate, and complete.

  E. Preservation of Confidentiality. Members and candidates must keep information about current, former, and prospective clients confidential unless:

  • The information concerns illegal activities on the part of the client or prospective client,
  • Disclosure is required by law, or
  • The client or prospective client permits disclosure of the information.

IV. DUTIES TO EMPLOYERS

  A. Loyalty. In matters related to their employment, members and candidates must act for the benefit of their employer and not deprive their employer of the advantage of their skills and abilities, divulge confidential information, or otherwise cause harm to their employer.

  B. Additional Compensation Arrangements. Members and candidates must not accept gifts, benefits, compensation, or consideration that competes with, or might reasonably be expected to create a conflict of interest with, their employer's interests unless they obtain written consent from all parties involved.

  C. Responsibilities of Supervisors. Members and candidates must make reasonable efforts to detect and prevent violations of applicable laws, rules, regulations, and the Code and Standards by anyone subject to their supervision or authority.

V. INVESTMENT ANALYSIS, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND ACTIONS

  A. Diligence and Reasonable Basis. Members and candidates must:

  • Exercise diligence, independence, and thoroughness in analyzing investments, making investment recommendations, and taking investment actions.
  • Have a reasonable and adequate basis, supported by appropriate research and investigation, for any investment analysis, recommendation, or action.

  B. Communication with Clients and Prospective Clients. Members and candidates must:

  • Disclose to clients and prospective clients the basic format and general principles of the investment processes used to analyze investments, select securities, and construct portfolios, and must promptly disclose any changes that might materially affect those processes.
  • Use reasonable judgment in identifying which factors are important to their investment analyses, recommendations, or actions and include those factors in communications with clients and prospective clients.
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion in the presentation of investment analysis and recommendations.

  C. Record Retention. Members and candidates must develop and maintain appropriate records to support their investment analysis, recommendations, actions, and other investment-related communications with clients and prospective clients.

VI. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

  A. Disclosure of Conflicts. Members and candidates must make full and fair disclosure of all matters that could reasonably be expected to impair their independence and objectivity or interfere with respective duties to their clients, prospective clients, and employer. Members and candidates must ensure that such disclosures are prominent, are delivered in plain language, and communicate the relevant information effectively.

  B. Priority of Transactions. Investment transactions for clients and employers must have priority over investment transactions in which a member or candidate is the beneficial owner.

  C. Referral Fees. Members and candidates must disclose to their employer, clients, and prospective clients, as appropriate, any compensation, consideration, or benefit received from or paid to others for the recommendation of products or services.

VII. RESPONSIBILITIES AS A CFA INSTITUTE MEMBER OR CFA CANDIDATE

  A. Conduct as Members and Candidates in the CFA Program. Members and candidates must not engage in any conduct that compromises the reputation or integrity of CFA Institute or the CFA designation or the integrity, validity, or security of the CFA examinations.

  B. Reference to CFA Institute, the CFA Designation, and the CFA Program. When referring to CFA Institute, CFA Institute membership, the CFA designation, or candidacy in the CFA Program, members and candidates must not misrepresent or exaggerate the meaning or implications of membership in CFA Institute, holding the CFA designation, or candidacy in the CFA program.

User Contributed Comments 28

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fedha: Well Summarized..
geok: how long do we need to keep the record? 5 or 7 years?
kforcfa: 5 years i remember?
kforcfa: that question was present on Dec08 exam :))
kforcfa: Being professional means: know the law, be independent and objective, never misrepresent or misconduct
Lamkerst123: at least 7 years
uhupong: so what is the final answer ? 7 years ?
geok: 7 years. i found the note on the next chapter under record retention
Sibaya: 7 years. But its only a recommendation...
chrisnutter: What record are you talking about? I'm looking all over for mention of a record in this section and I don't see anything...
twolunglung: 7 years
sebou: "CFA Institute recommends at least a 7-year holding period"
Page 56, Book 1.
kellyyang: 7 years is correct!
niemeljason: To Christnutter,
"Record" is referred to record retention in paragraph C under the 5th Standards of professional conduct which is "Investment analysis,recomendations and actions"...
anaraguin: disclose and document
spillo: great summary
freedza: well summarised
bwehttam: This is a good summary.
omya: so finally its 7 years recommendation...
barebones: well summarized
GVAANCHEE: Excellent summaries! Perfect for the exam!
tjioewenfong: peoples, who have the summary of CFA notes? may i get this? i really need it, i just have 3 years for complete this test_ thanks before
japheth: it's okay. just that it did't quote some sections in the codes.
broadex: PID DIC R
jjhigdon: kforcfa violated standard VII(a) by disclosing question that was on the exam! :o
pdonovin: This is word for word what is included in the CFA material....
thebkr7: thanks @broadex
Nzouabet: Thanks