The CFA Institute Professional Conduct Program administers the disciplinary process for CFA Institute. It investigates allegations, determines violations, imposes sanctions, conducts disciplinary proceedings, and discloses violations. The Disciplinary Review Committee (DRC), overseen by the CFA Institute Board of Governors, is responsible for enforcement. The DRC is a volunteer committee of CFA Charterholders who work with Professional Conduct staff to establish and review professional conduct policies. The basic enforcement structure is established in the Bylaws and Rules for Procedure for Professional Conduct.
All CFA Institute members and candidates in the CFA Program are required to comply with the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. Professional conduct inquiries can be opened in a number of ways.
- Self-reporting: CFA Institute members must sign an annual Professional Conduct Statement. On it they must disclose any matters that question their professional conduct, such as being party to a civil or criminal investigation or having received a written complaint.
- Written complaints received by Professional Conduct staff.
- Public sources such as media, regulatory notices, etc.
- Suspected cheating reports filed by CFA Exam proctors.
- Post-exam analyses of scores and exam material.
- Social media monitoring to detect disclosure of confidential exam material.
Investigations of professional conduct inquiries may request a written explanation and/or interview from the member or candidate, complaining parties, and third parties. Records relevant to the investigation may be collected. After review, Professional Conduct staff may conclude the inquiry with no disciplinary sanction, issue a cautionary letter, or continue
proceedings to discipline the member or candidate. If a violation of the Code and Standards or testing policies is deemed to have occurred, the
member or candidate has the opportunity to reject or accept any charges and the proposed sanctions.
If the member or candidate does not accept the charges and proposed sanction, the matter is referred to a panel of DRC members. Panels review materials and presentations from both Professional Conduct staff and the member or candidate. The panel determines whether a violation occurred and any necessary sanctions.
Potential sanctions may include public censure, suspension of membership and use of the CFA designation, and revocation of the CFA charter. Candidates in the CFA Program who have violated the Code and Standards or testing policies may be suspended or prohibited from further participation in the CFA Program.