What Is Code of Ethics?

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Editorial Team

Updated on March 08, 2023

A code of ethics refers to a set of guiding principles that help professionals and companies conduct business with honesty and integrity.

These principles may be based on the mission and values of the organization, as well as on other widely accepted business ethics practices. The purpose of a code of ethics is to maintain an honest and equitable business environment.

It applies both to employees and executives.

Is a Code of Ethics Required?

Some industries, such as the banking and finance industries, have laws that govern business behavior and require actions that promote integrity. Other businesses may institute a code of ethics voluntarily.

Often a code of ethics will govern employee conduct, professional practice, and even the ways in which professionals approach certain problems.

Code of Ethics Examples

A good example of a code of ethics comes from the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute.

The CFA charterholder designation is one of the most prestigious and respected in the finance business, and its integrity is represented in its code of ethics. Here are a few of its tenets:

  • To act with integrity, competence, diligence, respect, and in an ethical manner with the public, clients, and professionals in the investment industry and other industries
  • To place the interest of the investment profession and clients above their own
  • To act and encourage others to act in a professional manner that reflects well on the profession and themselves
  • To maintain and improve their professional competence and strive to maintain and improve the competence of other professionals

Code of Ethics FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

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