CFA Ethics – Madoffs and the Scrushys of the world

One of the most common questions on the Candidates forum is where to find used study resources like condensed notes and tip sheets. Notice the difference here between asking which resources to use and outright asking for those resources.

Replies to the posts usually start out pretty modestly until someone offers up their old material that can be emailed. I saw a post last month that had 12 candidates offering up their email address within a day in the hopes of scoring some free study guides.

CFA code of ethics – Sale and use of 3rd party resources

The sale and use of 3rd party resources without expressed permission is a violation of the CFA Code and Standards. Most candidates understand this but figure the practice of sharing resources falls within that proverbial gray area that everyone does and in which no one ever gets in trouble. While test prep providers have not cracked down on these kind of violations, it is well within their right to report it to the Institute.
My 11th grade psychology teacher started the first class of the semester with something I will never forget. It really had little to do with psychology and I can’t say I remember anything else from the class but this one thing. She said, “It doesn’t matter how careful you are, if it is wrong, you will eventually get caught.”
I have thought about what she said many times over the last 18 years, just about every time I was doing something I knew I shouldn’t be doing. I realized a while ago that she wasn’t talking about singular events or activities, but about your general conduct. Sure, you may get away with getting those study guides free off the net but the Madoffs and the Scrushys of the world always get caught. Stepping over that line once makes it easier to do it again, and again.
But should getting caught really be your deterrent to the double dealing, shenanigans and questionable morals that seem to pervade the industry at times?

Level I CFA Program Ethics – Do the right thing

As cliché as it may be, having the fortitude to follow an ethical path has its own rewards. By pursuing the CFA designation, you have already committed yourself to the hard work it takes to be one of the true professionals of our field. You understand that there are no easy outs in an intensely competitive industry and that the true spoils of life are all the sweeter having been earned rather than gifted.
It’s tough out there. Your boss is pushing you generate alpha. Your family needs something on the table. There are bills to pay and you have three tests to take. Work hard, do the right thing and know that you earned every letter after your name.
“I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost
‘Til next time, happy studyin’
Joseph Hogue, CFA

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