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The ethics of client service.... what would you do?

Wednesday 20 November, 2019
by Anonymous

You work in wealth management, advising on, monitoring and updating the investments and superannuation of clients, some of whom carry joint investments and receive services together as a couple - like Leo and Isabelle*.

To date, Leo and Isabelle have always come to the office seeking advice and making decisions together. But this week you received a call...  just from Leo. 

Leo is on paper as the primary decision-maker on their file. This means that he holds full rights to make decisions on the couple’s financial holdings, even if in practice Leo and Isabelle usually attend meetings together and are seen to actively share in decision-making.

In his call to you, Leo requested you transfer $30,000 out of an investment and into his private account - and specifically requested you not notify Isabelle.

Formally speaking, (by the terms of your contract), you are obliged to carry out Leo’s request.

But you believe it is contrary to the joint investments relationship he has with Isabelle and you don’t want to be complicit in a lie to her, given she is also your client. 

If you reject Leo's request, you will undermine your relationship with this loyal client and also break your contract. If you go ahead with his request, you will feel complicit in deceiving Isabelle.
What would you do?

We challenge you to create a healthy discussion with your colleagues and post a comment below. You could even encourage them to consider taking The Banking and Financial Services Oath!

Please share your ethical dilemmas with us - we can post them anonymously. You can email your dilemmas to 

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

*Names changed at request of anonymity


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The Oath

  • Trust is the foundation of my profession.
  • I will serve all interests in good faith.
  • I will compete with honour.
  • I will pursue my ends with ethical restraint.
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    My word is my bond.