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Ethical and Professional Standards

Module description

This module is intended to introduce an ethical decision-making framework for Financial Services Professional Degree Apprenticeship students, integrating ethics into the decision-making activities and building a culture of integrity in the workplace.

The module introduces ethics, related challenges to ethical behaviour and the role played by ethics in the investment profession. A framework to support ethical decision-making is provided to help guide behaviour. The CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct are examined, with attention given to each standard and its application.

Full module specification

Module title:Ethical and Professional Standards
Module code:BEF2101DA
Module level:2
Academic year:2019/0
Module lecturers:
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

The general aim of this module is to introduce ideas and concepts that will help you understand the importance of ethical behaviour in the investment industry as well as the challenges to adhering to high ethical standards. You will be introduced to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct that CFA candidates must follow to achieve the broader industry expectations. You will also be able to explain the need for high ethical standards in the investment industry and demonstrate an understanding of the Global Investment Performance Standards.

Students will be introduced to various types of ethical issues within the investment profession and a framework as a way to approach ethical decision making. By applying the framework and analysing the particular circumstance of each available alternative, you will learn to determine the best course of action to fulfil your responsibilities in an ethical manner.


The overall aim is to apply an ethical decision-making framework that will help students see the situation from multiple perspectives and justify your actions to a broader audience of stakeholders. Using a framework for ethical decision-making enable you to effectively examine your choices in the context of conflicting interests common to their professional obligations (e.g. researching and gathering information, developing investment recommendations, and managing money for others). You will learn to look at and evaluate decision from multiple perspectives, develop sound judgment and decision-making skills and avoid making decision that have unanticipated ethical consequences. Students will learn to recognise areas that are prone to ethical pitfalls and identify and process those circumstances and influences that can impair judgment and lead to ethical lapses.


Skills acquisition: You will develop a range of transferable skills and the ability to relate an ethical decision-making framework to a firm’s or profession’s code of ethics. You will practice ethical decision-making skills to confront the hard issues effectively and make ethical good decision despite the reality of conflicts.

Research in teaching: The module builds on recent investment management research within the finance disciplines to define ethical decision-making tools and theories.

The module is supported by a series of webinars, videos, group forums, learning logs, online reading material, and facilitated online group sessions will be offered in addition to a masterclass.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Explain the importance of ethical conduct in the investment industry
  • 2. Distinguish between ethical and legal standards
  • 3. Apply an ethical decision-making framework in investment profession
  • 4. Explain the ethical responsibilities required by the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct
  • 5. Evaluate practical application of the Standards: the integrity of capital markets; duties to clients; duties to employers; investment analysis, recommendations, and actions; conflicts of interest
  • 6. Explain why the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) were created, what parties the GIPS standards apply to, and who is served by the standards

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 7. Acquire sound understanding of the organisation’s values and professional standards
  • 8. Analyse decisions and their potential consequences from an ethical perspective
  • 9. Identify potential ethical issues and create solutions to them even in the absence of clearly stated rules.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Develop a range of skills required when communicating to clients and prospective clients and building ethically sound and trusted relationships with internal and/or external clients
  • 11. Exercise diligence, independence, and thoroughness in making ethical investment decision
  • 12. Identify and managing conflicts of interest in the investment profession with effective communication
  • 13. Understand and can clearly articulate the implications of non-compliance for their organisation

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities14 hours (2 days)Workshops
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities14 hoursOnline lectures and seminars
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities4 hoursRevision
Guided independent study118 hoursReading and research, web-based activities

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Mock Exam1-hour exam1-6Marks and feedback
Online DiscussionOnline discussion contributions1-13Online discussion feedback from peers and lecturer
Weekly online practicesSix exercises1-9Correct answers on ELE

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Exam501-hour written exam1-6Marks and feedback
Applied exercise/Assignment502,000 words1-13Marks and feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExamExam 1-hour written exam1-6In line with University regulations
Applied exercise/AssignmentApplied exercise/Assignment 2,000 words1-13In line with University regulations

Re-assessment notes

Defer – as first time

Refer – capped at 40%

Syllabus plan

  • Ethics and Trust in the Investment Profession
  • Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct
  • Professionalism
  • Integrity of Capital Markets
  • Duties to Clients
  • Duties to Employers
  • Investment Analysis, Recommendations and Actions
  • Conflicts of Interests
  • Global Investment Performance Standards

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading: 

·         Ethical and Professional Standards, CFA® Program Curriculum Level I Volume I, CFA Institute.



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