Financial Ethics Discussion Q

Urquhart is a financial planner for AKC, which runs a large network of financial planners. AKC compensates its planners based on the number of sales of AKC products. Urquhart advises a husband and wife to roll their retirement funds, which combined are worth $125,000, from one service provider into a single AKC investment fund that follows a large-cap equity strategy. Urquhart discloses to the couple that they will have to pay a penalty totaling $30,000 for closing their accounts, but they will make up this loss with better investment returns from the AKC product.

Required:

Considering CFA Ethical Standards I through Standards IV, which of these, if any, may Urquhart be violating? What are Urquhart’s ethical responsibilities to clients

O’Reilly is chief financial officer of Global Strategic Partners (GSP), a global investment adviser thatmerged with Holland Advisers, a smaller regional investment adviser. As a result of the merger, GSP becomes the adviser of record for several thousand Holland clients. For a period following the merger, GSP maintains Holland’s legacy billing system for original Holland clients until those clients can be converted to GSP’s billing system and platform. When the Holland billing system is converted, O’Reilly reviews the client billing information to ensure that it is correctly copied into the GSP billing system. Unbeknownest to O’Reilly, Holland’s billing system has a number of billing inaccuracies. For instance, Holland’s billing system inadvertently causes client advisory fees to default to the highest available account fee when client accounts in one advisory program are transferred between branches. Also, Holland’s billing system charges outside manager fees on assets that are held in money market accounts that do not use an outside manager. Finally, Holland’s billing system does not reimburse advance-billed fees when clients terminate their accounts. Some of these fee billing errors resulted from coding or other systems errors, whereas others were caused by administrative errors, including the failure of Holland personnel to immediately input negotiated lower fee rates into the billing system.

Required:

Considering CFA Ethical Standards I through Standards IV, which of these, if any, may O’Reilly be violating? What are O’Reilly’s ethical responsibilities to clients?

Murdoch is founder, president, and head portfolio manager of IOM Capital Management (IOM), an investment adviser providing investment advice to four affiliated hedge funds as well as separate client accounts. IOM accumulates and uses soft dollar credits primarily at a single broker/dealer through equity and options trading for the IOM funds and individual client accounts. IOM discloses allowable uses of soft dollars through its regulatory filings and offering memoranda for IOM funds. The disclosures provide that soft dollars may be used for “overhead expenses,” including “office services, equipment, and supplies.” IOM rents a portion of Murdoch’s personal residence to conduct its business. IOM pays $6,000 in rent to a company Murdoch owns, which, in turn, pays $5,855 to a local bank to cover the monthly mortgage payment for the property. Eventually, IOM and Murdoch request that the broker use soft dollars to make the rental payment. Once the broker starts paying rent using soft dollars, Murdoch raises the rent first to $10,000 per month and then to $15,000 per month.

Required:

Considering CFA Ethical Standards I through Standards IV, which of these, if any, may Murdoch be violating? What are Murdock’s ethical responsibilities to clients?

Slate Brothers Bank (SBS) serves as a custody bank for a wide range of clients, including many registered investment companies. SBS offers a variety of services to its custody clients, includingcustody, clearing, payment, settlement, and record-keeping functions. SBS charges custody clients an asset-based fee for these services. Pursuant to the bank’s client agreement, custody clients also agree to reimburse the bank for out-of-pocket (OOP) expenses for items paid by the custodian on behalf of the investor. The bulk of these expenses are related to Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) messages, a secured messaging network used by banks and other financial institutions.

Although SBS charges custody clients an established rate for SWIFT messages, the rate is greater than the actual cost of providing this service. Mandracken, a vice president at SBS who oversees clientservices’ responsibilities for the custody clients, recognizes this discrepancy and brings it to the attention of his supervisor. In an email, Mandracken states that “although SWIFT resides in the OOP language of most client fee schedules, the fees have always include an increase over true costs so that the SWIFT fee is not a true pass-through to the client because we tack on a margin.” Mandracken’s supervisor directs him to reduce the SWIFT rate for new custody clients and to revisit the rate for existing custody clients during contract renegotiations. To be consistent with his obligations under the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct (Code and Standards),.

Required:

Considering CFA Ethical Standards I through Standards IV, which of these, if any, may Mandraken be violating? What are Mandraken’s ethical responsibilities to clients?

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