Standard VII(A) covers the conduct of CFA Institute members and candidates involved with the CFA Program and prohibits any conduct that undermines the public’s confidence that the CFA charter represents a level of achievement based on merit and ethical conduct. There is an array of CFA Institute programs beyond the CFA Program that provide additional educational and credentialing opportunities, including the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM) Program and the CFA Institute Investment Foundations™ Program. The standard’s function is to hold members and candidates to a high ethical criterion while they are participating in or involved with any CFA Institute program. Conduct covered includes but is not limited to
■ giving or receiving assistance (cheating) on any CFA Institute examinations;
■ violating the rules, regulations, and testing policies of CFA Institute programs;
■ providing confidential program or exam information to candidates or the public;
■ disregarding or attempting to circumvent security measures established for any CFA Institute examinations;
■ improperly using an association with CFA Institute to further personal or professional goals; and
■ misrepresenting information on the Professional Conduct Statement or in the
CFA Institute Continuing Education Program.
Confidential Program Information
CFA Institute is vigilant about protecting the integrity of CFA Institute programs’ content and examination processes. CFA Institute program rules, regulations, and policies prohibit candidates from disclosing confidential material gained during the exam process.
Examples of information that cannot be disclosed by candidates sitting for an exam include but are not limited to
■ specific details of questions appearing on the exam and
■ broad topical areas and formulas tested or not tested on the exam.
All aspects of the exam, including questions, broad topical areas, and formulas, tested or not tested, are considered confidential until such time as CFA Institute elects to release them publicly. This confidentiality requirement allows CFA Institute to maintain the integrity and rigor of exams for future candidates. Standard VII(A) does
not prohibit candidates from discussing nonconfidential information or curriculum
material with others or in study groups in preparation for the exam.
Candidates increasingly use online forums and new technology as part of their exam preparations. CFA Institute actively polices blogs, forums, and related social networking groups for information considered confidential. The organization works with both individual candidates and the sponsors of online or offline services to promptly
remove any and all violations. As noted in the discussion of Standard I(A)–Knowledge of the Law, candidates, members, and the public are encouraged to report suspected violations to CFA Institute.
Additional CFA Program Restrictions
The CFA Program rules, regulations, and policies define additional allowed and disallowed actions concerning the exams. Violating any of the testing policies, such as the calculator policy, personal belongings policy, or the Candidate Pledge, constitutes a violation of Standard VII(A). Candidates will find all of these policies on the CFA
Program portion of the CFA Institute website (www.cfainstitute.org). Exhibit 2 provides the Candidate Pledge, which highlights the respect candidates must have for the integrity, validity, and security of the CFA exam.
Members may participate as volunteers in various aspects of the CFA Program.
Standard VII(A) prohibits members from disclosing and/or soliciting confidential material gained prior to or during the exam and grading processes with those outside the CFA exam development process.
Examples of information that cannot be shared by members involved in developing, administering, or grading the exams include but are not limited to
■ questions appearing on the exam or under consideration,
■ deliberation related to the exam process, and
■ information related to the scoring of questions.
Members may also be asked to offer assistance with other CFA Institute programs, including but not limited to the CIPM and Investment Foundations programs. Members participating in any CFA Institute program should do so with the same level of integrity and confidentiality as is required of participation in the CFA Program.
Expressing an Opinion
Standard VII(A) does not cover expressing opinions regarding CFA Institute, the CFA Program, or other CFA Institute programs. Members and candidates are free to disagree and express their disagreement with CFA Institute on its policies, its procedures, or any advocacy positions taken by the organization. When expressing a personal opinion, a candidate is prohibited from disclosing content- specific information, including any actual exam question and the information as to subject matter covered or not covered in the exam.