AuthorTopic: Can one succeed without compromising ethics/values?
@2008-02-08 23:08:00
Is it possible to be successful in business/finance while seldom compromising morals, values, and ethics? (the scope of this definition clearly extends beyond CFAI's definitions to include cultural and personal values)

In my view, I personally don't think you have to be a shark to do well in finance. I myself will not throw a colleague under the bus, and when in doubt, I try to make decisions that are most consonant with my personal morals and values. I guess it's because I believe that doing the right thing can still lead to success, even if it may be a harder, longer route than cheating or by taking down one of your colleagues. I also feel like what comes around goes around, and that sooner or later, doing enough of the "wrong" things will catch up with one's reputation. Finally, although I've heard and seen enough people make their way up the ladder by way of some less than admirable means, I also believe there are enough people at the top who can respect someone who's honest, principled, and equally comfortable living with one's successes as with oneís shortcomings Ė essentially I'm talking about humility here, in so many words.

In principle and in practice, I never try to claim to know more than I actually do, whether I'm in front of a client or in front of a potential employer. Whether a lack of showmanship has ever cost me a potential deal or a job, I suppose Iíll never hear about anyway. However, my sticking by my values and being comfortable with admitting what I know versus what I don't know has gotten me what I've wanted, for the most part Ė and I think a lot of it has to do with my setting realistic (though occasionally ambitious) goals for myself.

Anyway, I know this is a random thought of the day, but hopefully it evokes some interesting responses. I'm relatively early in my career track and havenít faced too many compromising situations, so I'd be curious to know what you all thought Ė whether itís always worth it to stick to one's values, or if the ends can always justify the means.
@2008-02-10 03:45:37
I think having doubts about the usefulness of your work is a part of working in certain sectors of finance. The questions about your usefulness to society inevitably lead a person to consider whether they are leading ethical lives.

Anything that is not useful to society in general, in my opinion, is unethical.

I know many of you won't agree with me, but I believe that a huge amount of the business that is conducted on wall street is fraudulent by its very nature.

Who here really believes that investment banks should be paid 6%-8% on stock offerings for their widely held public company clients? How can you justify 1.5% fees for plain vanilla equity mutual funds that are basically index funds with window dressing? Going further, how valuable is the vast majority of equity research? What about the recent grads making more than middle managers of large public companies? What about excessive executive compensation and cross directorship inbreeding?

It is really really important to know where you stand on these issues, and examine whether what you are doing is really worthwhile to society. Only then will you know whether you are leading an ethical work life.
@2008-03-30 09:01:18
i think derrivative trading could be really unethical. The pricing of these instruments are specific and its created in a zero sum game setup. therefore, with your superior pricing skills, you are setting up a deal which will make you better off and someone else worse off. is that not unethical?

i know big corps mainly use them for hedging purposes, but somewhere someone has to lose. is this in itself pareto optimal?
i think the cfa institute does not provide enough of a guideline in consideration with these instruments.

anybody care to comment?
@2010-04-30 10:39:10
well all one could say u ppl remarks show u as "novice " in the field.

we all r working for some employer at any stage with over all policy in mind of whole organization/team + corporate code.

so nothing out of guideline/corporate governance etc of ur work place. if u feel guilty , go resign simply and dont work in those areas .


CFA Discussion Topic: Can one succeed without compromising ethics/values?

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Colin Sampaleanu

Colin Sampaleanu