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The ethics of disclosure and friendship... what would you do?

Wednesday 3 February, 2021
by Anonymous

You work in financial advice and have developed a friendship with one of your clients who is now applying for an insurance product. They allow you to start following them on their private Insta account. You come to realise they are fairly open about their lifestyle and regular recreational drug use on this particular social media platform, albeit a private profile.

There is no judgement on your part – you have indulged in recreational drugs in the past yourself.

But on this occasion, the extent of the client’s drug use leads you to believe that, if disclosed, your client’s insurance application will be blocked in an underwriting process and not be granted.

If it is disclosed their application may not be accepted, they may be blacklisted from most products from the insurance company, which shares a database across its subsidiary financial product companies. Therefore, the disclosure might deny them the ability to secure other financial products in the future.

What would you do? 

  • What values are being challenged here and causing tension for you?
  • Where do your priorities lie - in friendship? In loyalty? In professionalism?
  • What are your professional obligations and duties?
  • How might you approach this conversation with this person who is both a client and a friend? 

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 Rhett Wesley on Unsplash






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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.
  • I will help create a sustainable future.
  • I will help create a more just society.
  • I will speak out against wrongdoing and support others who do the same.
  • I will accept responsibility for my actions.
  • In these and all other matters;
    My word is my bond.