Reputation, regulation, and repercussions
Are you behaving ethically? All CIMA members and registered students have a duty to abide by the Laws of the Institute, which consist of the royal charter, byelaws, regulations, and all subordinate documents — particularly the CIMA Code of Ethics. These ensure that CIMA members and students maintain their duty to observe the highest standards of conduct and integrity, and also uphold the good standing and reputation of the profession.
Peter Steel, vice-president of professional standards and ethics at CIMA, says: "CIMA membership stands as a guarantee to the world at large that our members respect the institute's fundamental principles and are trustworthy. For that guarantee to hold any meaning, CIMA must continue to be rigorous in enforcing breaches of the Code of Ethics."
Those members and students who fall short of CIMA's standards may be guilty of misconduct irrespective of whether they are in industry, commerce, the public sector, public practice, or education. CIMA's conduct process for investigating allegations of misconduct has the following stages:
- Processing the complaint: The conduct team establishes whether the complaint comes within CIMA's regulatory framework. Further guidance is available on what CIMA can investigate.
- Supporting evidence: The conduct team establishes whether there is enough supporting documentation to enable the Investigation Committee to reach a view on a complaint of misconduct.
- Complaint summary: The conduct team provides a summary of the complaint to the member or registered student. They are given the opportunity to respond and provide evidence of their own to refute the allegation. The complaint, any response, and supporting evidence are then submitted to the Investigation Committee.
- The Investigation Committee: This committee considers the complaint to determine if there is a prima facie case to answer and, if so, decides what further action to take. If the Investigation Committee does not identify a prima facie case to answer, the case will generally be closed.
- The Disciplinary Committee: If the Investigation Committee finds the case is too serious for it to address, or the member or student does not accept a consent order, the complaint is referred to the Disciplinary Committee. The Disciplinary Committee will hold a hearing (either in person or "on the papers") and all findings are published on CIMA's website. Members and registered students can appeal against the determination or the sanction.
Integrity — the first of five fundamental principles that underpin the CIMA Code — is the most commonly breached principle by CIMA members and students. Integrity is defined as "being straightforward, honest, and truthful in all professional and business relationships. You should not be associated with any information that you believe contains a materially false or misleading statement, or which is misleading by omission."
Conduct cases that involve a breach of the integrity principle include those of CIMA members who didn't declare previous criminal convictions or students who used unfair technological methods in their exams. This is highlighted in our ongoing campaign and illustrates how breaching the Code of Ethics may end your career before it has really begun.
Many professional bodies have seen the volume of conduct complaints rise over recent years. This may be due to an increased public awareness of the role of regulation, and there may also be a greater understanding of the responsibility of CIMA members to comply with ethical standards. CIMA is committed to ensuring that members continue to benefit from a collective reputation worth preserving.
Whether the misconduct investigation is about members knowingly misrepresenting statements for personal financial gain, or students actively sharing confidential information on CIMA exams, the Code is explicit: This is unacceptable and unprofessional. The CIMA Code of Ethics is based on the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants' Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, which has been adopted by a number of professional accountancy organisations globally.
There are many publicly available resources and tools that focus on managing responsible business, and guide you through the CIMA Code of Ethics to ensure you are upholding the standards expected, safeguarding yourself against the risk of a formal complaint.
You can also keep up with responsible business news with Ethical Lens, which highlights the latest global ethics news, events, and reports. The newsletter is published three times a year and is available online. Being familiar with the requirements of the Code will help you to maintain your professional integrity and continue to play your part to maintain public confidence in management accountants.
To access ethics resources, go to:
Code of Ethics: cimaglobal.com/ethics
Ethical Lens: cimaglobal.com/ethicallens
Recent disciplinary cases
Between 28 September and 6 October 2017 the Disciplinary Committee considered 34 cases involving registered students. These cases all related to a WhatsApp group conversation within which during the examination window information relating to the November 2016 Operational Case Study examination was shared, discussed, and requested in breach of CIMA's Exam Scheduling Terms and Conditions, Non-Disclosure Agreement, and the Code of Ethics.
The hearings resulted in the following findings: Three cases were dismissed, and one case remains under appeal. Additionally, in the cases of Gayashan Bandara, Jessmol James, Shan Jayasena, Hasani Punchihewa, and Zaheer Zakir, the Disciplinary Committee imposed the sanction of cancellation of student registration and ordered the respondents to pay costs. In the cases of Senitha Abeywickrama Gunawardana, Shivam Agarwal, Uzair Hashmi, Mudassir Husain, Praveen Nanayakkara, Raigamage Sajith Vishwa, Preksha Sancheti, Preetha Senthilvel, and Amy Wilson, the Disciplinary Committee imposed the sanction of severe reprimand and imposed the condition of taking the BA4 Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance, and Business Law examination before further examinations can be undertaken, and ordered the respondents to pay costs. In the cases of Chamith Amarasinghe, Muthuwadura De Silva, Nawalage Dilusha Ridmi Amandhha Dias, Yash Krishnan, Dulinda Perera, Shehan Perera, Mian AbuBakar Shuja, Jaideep Ubale, and Mohamed Shafeer Yoosuf, the Disciplinary Committee imposed the sanction of a severe reprimand and ordered the respondents to pay costs in all but two cases. In the cases of Maria Baloyi, Prabod Dunuwila, Mohomed Minjad, Pinidiya Pathirage Yasas Navodya Perera, Surya Sanjay, Mohamed Saleem Ahamed Shafquee, and Suchet Sondhi, the Disciplinary Committee imposed the sanction of a reprimand and ordered the respondents to pay costs.
The facts of each individual case and the full decision made by the Disciplinary Committee in each case are available on CIMA's website.
Submission of your 2017 CPD record
As a CIMA member you are required to undertake CPD and keep a record of your learning and development activities throughout the year. If you have been selected to submit your 2017 CPD record, please do so by the deadline given in that email.
Please note, you are only required to submit your record for the last 12 months, but you can do so in any format as long as it covers the six steps of the CIMA Professional Development Cycle. Members who have been selected to submit by using the Competency and Learning website are not required to submit until September 2018.
Should you have any queries or would like further guidance, please visit the CPD section of the CIMA website or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Failure to submit your CPD record upon request, as prescribed by Regulations Part I, 13—18, may lead to disciplinary action from CIMA.