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The PFS view

One of the main reasons for forming the Personal Finance Society is to improve the perceptions of financial advisers.

The PFS is there to improve the standards of knowledge and conduct of its members. A major part of this is the code of ethics and conduct. We are considering CPD for the PFS – should ethics be part of this and, if so, in what form?

PFS members should have received a copy of the CII and PFS code of ethics and conduct. The code contains a statement of key values: responsibility, integrity, professional competence, due care, professional standards, confidentiality, objectivity and avoiding conflicts of interest.

The code spells out a number of areas where the principles should be carried into effect. For example, members must maintain the trust of their clients, giving fair and proper consideration to their interests, acting with due skill, care and diligence and in an honest manner.

There are provisions about not making improper use of information, seeking to be responsible, being open fair and respectful to other employees, colleagues, customers and suppliers. All should be treated with equal respect.

Every opportunity should be taken to improve professional capability, knowledge and skills. All members should comply with the CPD scheme. Employers should not penalise employees for raising matters for ethical concern.

It is clear that the law must be respected at all times.

Relations with the public are highlighted.Members should seek to advance the reputation of financial services through their own conduct. There is a requirement in the section on relations with the CII to ensure a transparent relationship between members and their professional body.

I would commend this code to every member. If you have any comments on areas where you think there should be some ‘best practice’ guidelines to amplify this Code, then write to the editor.

John Ellis is public affairs director of the Personal Finance Society

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