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IFP ethics chair warns over moral code breaches

Institute of Financial Planning members are failing to apply its code of ethics to social media interactions, warns IFP ethics committee chair Andrew Brook-Dobson.

Speaking at the IFP’s annual conference in Newport this week, Brook-Dobson said too many members are “completely ignorant” of the code, which requires them to act with courtesy and consideration to everyone they come into contact with in the course of their professional work.

He said: “The increased use of social media brings issues with it. We have all seen, on social media and industry websites, examples of poor courtesy, poor behaviour and poor treatment of others.

“The contextual piece is bringing it back to the code of ethics and hopefully preventing people from having to come in front of a disciplinary hearing.

“All of you have signed the code of ethics, but our experience is that some members are completely ignorant of this code.”

Brook-Dobson said many members mistakenly believe the code only requires them to act with courtesy in their interactions with clients.

Clarke Willmott commercial litigation lawyer Michael Clarke, also speaking at the event, urged delegates to train their staff in the use of social media and to put social media guidelines in place.

He said: “Twitter can be extremely good for building your brand, but you need to be very careful with those communications.

“Communications need to promote a professional brand, and that requires awareness and training. Firms should also put social media guidelines in place which are linked to employment contracts and which set out clearly what is and is not acceptable.”

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  1. I am not currently a member of the IFP, but the CII ethics code is similar. I personally recognise that by using the word “shyster” when referring to the F-pack handling of the Longstop issue and in particular their handling of my dispute with them for 4 hears over the right to even mention the longstop in contracts (which they backed down on) , whilst this may be viewed as potentially in breach of the CII ethics code, I stand by my comment. Ironically, were it deemed inappropriate and I refused to remove the comment, I would be unable to apply for an SPS with any professional body, which as membership of a professional body was agreed NOT to be mandatory for issue of an SPS, would mean the FCA would have to fund a way of issuing an SPS without membership. This was pointed out to them as being a potential problem should disputes arise with F-pack.
    Making personal attacks on F -pack staff however I do think is going too far .

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