CFA UK Ethics Working Group launches ethics challenge

Wednesday 20 January 2021

Ethics challenge

CFA UK’s new ethical initiative focus on the importance of culture, accountability and the need for the client to be at the heart of decision-making

The CFA UK Ethics Working Group was proud to launch the Ethics Challenge initiative alongside Vanguard UK in September 2020. This exciting new initiative is an important part of meeting the Society’s commitment to promoting ethical conversations throughout the industry.

The challenge

For the challenge, Vanguard employees were divided into teams and presented with a case study on ethical misconduct. Each team was assigned a different key stakeholder, including the individuals involved, senior management and compliance, and invited to consider the potential mistakes that had been made, the biases that influenced these decisions and how they could have acted differently. To support their presentations, teams were encouraged to use the CFA Institute’s decision-making framework and analysis the stakeholder’ behaviours using the CFA Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct and the FCA Conduct Rules.

Identifying the issues and actions

The teams presented on the case to a panel of Vanguard UKs chief investment officer, Paul Jakubowski, their general counsel, Katie Smith, and Will Goodhart, chief executive of CFA UK. The groups did a great job of identifying the ethical and conduct issues, proposing immediate actions and answered the questions from the panel with clarity and insight. All groups emphasised the importance of culture, accountability and the need for the client to be at the heart of decision-making. A winner was unanimously chosen by the panel and both Paul and Will shared their thoughts to re-emphasis the importance of these issues.

Many thanks to all the Ethics Working Group members involved in the challenge as well as to Katie Fulker and Ian Jones at Vanguard for all their support and, in particular, to Jack Wong, who is a longstanding Working Group member who was instrumental in developing this proposition at Vanguard. The Committee is looking forward to expanding this initiative to other partner firms in the coming months.

If you think your firm may be interested in participating in this initiative, please email Liam Gilchrist




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