Investment profession making progress on ethical matters

Wednesday 16 October 2019

  • New CFA UK survey reveals ethics are top priority for investment professionals, with the sector progressing on ethics
  • 53% wanted to work for a company that aligned with their values
  • 54% said they thought about the CFA UK’s Code of Ethics and Professional Standards often when working

Today, on Global Ethics Day, CFA UK has released the results of its annual Ethics Survey, which polls investment professionals’ views on ethics and professionalism in the UK investment sector. 

The survey – the only tracker of these views across the UK’s investment profession and now in its seventh year – reveals the sector is making steady progress in recognising and responding to the importance of ethics.

The number of investment professionals who find it challenging to adhere to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct (Code and Standards) continues to fall. 

Drilling down into the numbers, respondents feel that meeting duties to clients is less challenging for the sector as a whole than in previous years. However, while that number is down to 43% this year from 51% in 2017 and 52% in 2015, it remains stubbornly high. The number of individuals who have found it personally challenging to meet that duty increased slightly this year to 28% – from 27% in 2017 and 24% last year.

It is also notable that 54% of respondents say that they think about the Code and Standards often. This is a notable jump from four years ago when only 40% said that they did so. 

In another indication of the growing importance of ethics and professionalism to individuals, the survey reports that an increasing number of investment professionals want to advance their career with a company whose values align with their own. 53% of respondents regard this as very important compared to 46% two years ago.   

There has also been a substantial increase in awareness of CFA UK’s online ethics resources, such as guidance notes and the whistleblowing helpline. 29% of those polled visited those resources in the past year, versus 19% two years ago.  

Says Will Goodhart, chief executive of CFA UK: “It is great to see that our members are continuing to become more conscious and responsive to their ethical and professional responsibilities. As a profession, we have a duty to serve clients ethically and the public need to be confident that we can do so. 

“The investment sector is characterised by information asymmetries and conflicts of interest. Poor ethical decision-making can have significantly adverse outcomes for clients and for firms. We must continue to ensure that ethical and professional awareness are embedded into firms’ cultures, and that those working in the profession have this front of mind every day.”

CFA UK currently runs an Ethical Leadership Programme in partnership with Duke Corporate Education. Now in its fifth year, the programme provides current and future leaders with the skills, techniques and experience needed to deal with ethical issues, and the expertise to help guide others in their own organisations. 




Notes to editors: 

For further information about the results or to request an interview, please contact Ogilvy Public Relations: 


About the Survey

The survey opened on 4 July 2019 and closed on 19 August 2019. It was open to all CFA UK members and there was a total of 448 respondents.


About CFA UK

Part of the worldwide network of member societies of CFA Institute, CFA UK represents the interests of 12,000 investment professionals in the UK.