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: 2022/3

Module Convenor: Ms Deepa Govindarajan Driver
Email: d.govindarajan@icmacentre.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Ethics in Investment Management offers a series of lectures that explore the key ethical conflicts encountered by the investment management industry and investment professionals as they invest other people’s money. The module will examine the causes and consequences of both ethical and unethical behaviour, giving students the chance to see how investment management firms’ and investment managers’ individual and collective decisions affect trading partners, clients, financial markets and civil society stakeholders. The implications for civil society and the real economy of ethical failures are also given particular attention. 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. 

This module also helps students develop key employability skills .


To introduce students to the ethical difficulties encountered by investment management firms and investment professionals and the implications ethical and unethical decision-making have for civil society and the real economy. 

Career aims: During this module, students will:

  • Explore what makes a good team 

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

  • Learn key negotiation concepts 

  • Practise presentation skills

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the course students will be able to discuss the ethical requirements imposed by professional bodies and financial regulators, and their own duties as ethical professionals. They will be able to identify the ethical dimension involved in the decision-making process and be able to discuss the conflicts between short-term perceptions of economic efficiency and both short-term and long-term implications of ethical  and unethical behaviour. 

Employability related outcomes: 

  • Employment rights: recognition of employment rights, and current practices where relevant in the financial services industry 

  • Teamwork – recognition of how to contribute effectively to a team 

  • Time management – ability to prioritise, use time management tools and identify techniques for increased personal and team productivity

  • Negotiation – ability to engage in basic negotiations and recognise the implications of negotiated outcomes 

  • Presentation – ability to plan and deliver presentations

Additional outcomes:

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


Outline content:

Lectures include: 

  • Introduction to ethics and ethical theories

  • How ethics inform decision-making : macro and micro-concerns and the wider context 

  • Ethical decision making by investment managers including a discussion of 

  • the investment chain, investment decisions, market integrity and fiduciary duties

  • Incentives, disincentives, disclosure, transparency, voice, exit, power and participation in the market for corporate control

  • Remuneration

  • Risk and conduct 

  • Whistleblowing 

Environmental, social and governance factors and the implications of irresponsible investment 

  • Lobbying, greenwashing and manipulation of disclosure and transparency

  • Good practice – duties to employers, duties to civil society, codes of conduct

Careers workshops are designed to develop students’ team working, organisation, negotiation and presentation skills:

  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 

  2. 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 time management and personal effectiveness concepts 

Negotiation tasks, teaching students basic negotiation skills:

  1. Presentation workshop, developing students’ presentation skills

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This is intended to be a module where students engage meaningfully and critically with ethical dilemmas faced by investment managers in a way that recognises and prioritises the implications for civil society. Reflective activities are actively encouraged. Students learn from examples, cases and ethical challenges both within and outside the financial services industry. Lectures and seminars will integrate theory with practice through the use of these practical examples and case studies. Stud ents will also engage with careers advice that allows them to engage professionally and ethically in the workplace and in teams.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18
Seminars 8
Practicals classes and workshops 8
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 23
    Wider reading (directed) 24
    Exam revision/preparation 40
    Advance preparation for classes 15
    Preparation for seminars 5
    Essay preparation 59
Total hours by term 0 200 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 65
Written assignment including essay 25
Project output other than dissertation 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One 2 hour exam.

The questions test critical and reflective engagement.

The examination for this module will require a narrowly defined time window and is likely to be held in a dedicated exam venue.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One written essay assignment and one presentation (project output)

Essay (25% of the final mark)

Essay of approximately 1000 words to be submitted in first three weeks of the summer term. 

Project output (10% of final mark) 

Individual 5 min reflective presentation (10% of the final mark) wherein students demonstrate reflection and critical thinking in an employment context

Formative assessment methods:

Ongoing feedback on seminar and classroom activities


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 contributing to 100% of the final mark.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 22 September 2022


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