THE CODES OF ETHICS
Ethics can be defined as the set of rules and duties that govern the practice of a profession. These rules and duties are generally set out in a code of ethics and determine the minimum standards to be met by professionals in the performance of their activities. These standards are ultimately intended to promote the protection of the public and the honest practice of professional activities. They also contribute to maintaining the public’s trust in the profession.
The ethical standards or rules applicable to CSF members depending on their fields of practice are set forth in the following:
The Code of ethics of the Chambre de la sécurité financière, which applies:
- To representatives in insurance of persons;
- To representatives in group insurance of persons;
- To financial planners.
The Regulation respecting the rules of ethics in the securities sector*, which applies:
- To mutual fund dealer representatives;
- To scholarship plan dealer representatives.
* Note: Although this regulation was revoked, sections 2 to 20 are transitionally in force until new rules are enacted.
While the practice of CSF members is governed by other laws and regulations, such as the Securities Act and the Act respecting the distribution of financial products and services, these two regulations provide the basis for their ethical obligations. They set out various duties and obligations owed to the public in general, to clients in particular, to other members of the profession and to the profession as a whole.
These provisions provide, among other things, that the interests of the client must always be the representative’s utmost priority. They also aim to protect the public and encourage the honest practise of the profession by representatives.
Ethics, in the general sense, can also be defined as moral principles or values that guide the conduct of an individual or group. In fact, ethics is the art of acting properly and “doing the right thing”. CSF members must behave ethically.
When faced with a problem, it is highly possible that one professional will have ethics that differ from those of his colleague. However, ethics requires both of them to question themselves, make choices and act based on a set of values.
To act “ethically”, a representative must not only respect laws, regulations and standards, he must also examine his practices and conduct which, while lawful and compliant, may be questionable on a human, moral or social level. Ethics requires a representative to go beyond the established rules in order to find the best solution for his client. In a sense, ethics is a guarantee of professionalism, an essential component of CSF members’ practice.