The ethicality of Fiona’s consulting decision can be analyzed using the Applied Ethical Decision Model (AEDM). Under this model, the case at hand can be analyzed using different ethical theories, and interestingly enough the conclusions drawn can be different. Ethical theories help to frame a question and they help in highlighting the aspects of the case that might be overlooked if the case is analyzed on economical terms. The theories can also help explain and defend what you think is right, but in the end you must draw your own conclusion.
The first test for ethical decision making are sniff tests. These are questions you can ask yourself when pondering if something is ethical or unethical. Questions like: would I be comfortable if this action or decision were to appear in the news with my name on it? Will I be proud of this decision? Is this action or decision in accord with the corporations mission and code? These are all great sniff tests that can lead to the most ethical decision. In Fiona Mcintosh’s case it is obvious to me that these sniff test questions ring an alarm towards the unethical end of the spectrum. The first Principle in a CFP board member’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility is integrity. Integrity demands honesty and candor, which must not be subordinate to personal gain and advantage. The ultimate source of trust for a client like Bob and Cathy is integrity. Fiona is showing a lack of integrity because she is recomending these three specific investments for her own personal gain.
The traditional 5-question approach brings up the question; is the decision profitable? Legal? Fair? Right? or Going to further sustainable development? In Fiona’s case it is a profitable decision as she is going to receive 30% of Beck Hansen’s commission. In terms of legal purposes it is not illegal for Fiona to push certain investments to her clients, however it is...
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