IC105-Ethics in Investment Management

Module Provider: ICMA Centre
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Lisa Schopohl

Email: l.schopohl@icmacentre.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Ethics in Investment Management offers a series of lectures that explore the main ethical conflicts encountered by investment professionals as they invest other people’s money. It will examine the causes and consequences of both ethical and unethical behaviour, giving students the chance to see how individuals’ decisions affect trading partners, clients and the market as a whole. Some of the topics covered in this module feature in the CFA ethics syllabus, but this module should not be seen as an alternative to the specialist training for the CFA exams. 

Also, this module helps students learn key employability skills that will support them throughout their studies and in the workplace. 


To introduce students to the ethical difficulties encountered by investment professionals as they invest other people’s money. 

Career aims: During this module, students will 

  • Explore what makes a good team and the roles they typically choose to take in a team 

  • Identify the key steps in project management and managing personal productivity 

  • Learn key negotiation concepts 

  • Practice presentation skills 

  • Reflect upon their learning and determine next steps for their development

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the course students will appreciate the ethical standards imposed by professional bodies and financial regulators. They will be able to identify the ethical dimension involved in the decision-making process, and be able to discuss the conflicts between economic efficiency and ethical behaviour. 

Employability related outcomes: 

  • Teamwork – ability to articulate what makes a good team and what their preferred role is on a team 

  • Time management – ability to prioritise, identify dependencies and critical Xs and apply this to both group projects their own personal workloads 

  • Negotiation – ability to reach a negotiated outcome with others when there are competing objectives 

  • Presentation – ability to plan and deliver compelling presentations 

Additional outcomes:

Students will gain experience in handling case studies and in debating with their peers. They will also gain significant exposure to the CFA’s Standards of Practice Handbook which contains the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. 

Additionally, the cohort of students will form a closer bond with each other and learn that they can achieve more through collaboration and that they should support each other throughout their entire programme. 

Outline content:

Lectures include: 

  • Introduction to ethics 

  • Ethical theories 

  • Ethical decision making, investment recommendations and the finance professional 

  • Duties to employers, codes of ethics and the case of whistleblowing 

  • Fiduciary duties and the investment chain 

  • Socially responsible investment 

  • Market integrity and market abuse 

  • Remuneration and risk-taking in banking 

  • Behavioural ethics 


Careers workshops designed to develop students’ team working, organisation, negotiation and presentation skills, where the content covered will also introduce the students to the financial services industry and potential graduate career pathways: 

  1. Team building exercises and reflective tasks that encourage students to reflect on what makes a good team and what roles they typically play in a team 

  1. Group tasks that mirror the sorts of activities that are set at assessment centres, developing the team building from workshop one and introducing some important project management and personal effectiveness concepts 

  1. Negotiation tasks, teaching students negation skills in particular the importance of trust, reputation and empathy. 

  1. Presentation workshop, developing students presentation skills 


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures will be used to introduce and illustrate the theory and concepts discussed in the course. Seminars will allow the students to discuss specific cases, which further illustrate the ethical problems faced in financial markets. 

Additionally, interactive workshops where students will participate in experiential learning, followed by some input from the facilitator and be signposted to further resources should they wish to continue to develop their knowledge in these areas. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 8
Practicals classes and workshops 8
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 21
    Wider reading (directed) 24
    Exam revision/preparation 50
    Advance preparation for classes 5
    Preparation for seminars 8
    Essay preparation 56
Total hours by term 0 200 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 65
Written assignment including essay 30
Project output other than dissertation 5

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One 2 hour exam 

The exam covers the topics of the lectures and student will have to answer two out of four questions. The questions are open-ended questions. 

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Two written assignments and one video presentation 

Essay 1 (25% of the final mark) 

Essay of approximately 2500 words to be submitted during Week 29. 

The essay is based on the material covered in the lecture and will shed light on an aspect of ethical conduct in the investment management industry. In the essay, students shall demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and high level of understanding of the subject matter as well as independent research of relevant literature. 

Essay 2 (5% of the final mark) 

500 word essay on students’ current career goals and what they plan to do to achieve them in the next twelve months. 

Project output (5% of final mark) 

Individual 5-10 min video presentation (5% of the final mark) where students articulate what they did, what they learned and what they plan to do next to develop themselves for each of the employability –related assessable learning outcomes. 

Formative assessment methods:

Self and peer evaluation of performance in each workshop 

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. 

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A minimum mark of 35% is required for a University pass.

Reassessment arrangements:

Re-sit examination to be taken in August/September

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 8 April 2019


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