Griffith to boost industry reputation

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A focus on ethics at Griffith University is set to boost the damaged reputation of the finance industry.

The University is the first in Australia to be approved to take part in the prestigious CFA Institute University Recognition Program.

Dr Alexandr Akimov, senior lecturer at the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, says that a vital part of the curriculum is about the standards of practice and ethical approaches to how people treat their clients. He says it was one of the big lessons of the GFC.

“The reputation of the financial industry has been damaged quite dramatically and we’ll have to really work hard to be able to repair that,” says Akimov.

“You have to have more institutions signing up for ethical standards. [There’s] not many interested at the moment, but over time I’m sure more and more will be joining and that definitely will help raise the bar, especially in the ethics side of it.”

By raising these standards, Akimov says advisers will benefit from greater fund disclosure. There is a substantial part of the curriculum dedicated to how different funds have to present their results to make sure they are “not just showing the good bits, the best bits, and they’re hiding the bad ones”. This will ensure that advisers can trust that they are working with an honest fund.

The designation is most popular among those who want to stand out from the crowd, and half of the candidates are currently coming from Asia. The designation is globally valued by employers, as members must comply with the high ethical standards.

“The CFA exams are challenging. Between 50 and 60 percent of candidates fail to pass the level one exam, with similar fail rates for the level two and three exam for second and third years.

“Candidates are further required to demonstrate they meet professional industry standards through their professional experience. It is a serious test of their credentials, but a most worthwhile test if CFA credentials can be achieved.”