Back to the Code
 

The general duty to act honestly and with integrity

3.1 Members are expected to demonstrate high standards of behaviour. This is reflected in the first principle of the Code, which states:

Members must act honestly and with integrity.”

Acting in an ethical and professional manner

3.2 Integrity is generally accepted as a fundamental requirement to act in an ethical and professional manner.  If someone has integrity, their actions are consistent with their beliefs, both stated and real.  They will not claim to have a certain belief and then act in a way that contradicts this, whether or not they are likely to be caught out.

Being honest and fair

3.3 Acting with integrity in a professional setting will generally mean being straightforward and honest in your professional and business relationships and dealing fairly with those around you. This expectation extends to situations in which you are promoting your business services.

Respecting others

3.4 The first amplification under the Integrity principle provides that:Members must show respect for others in the way they conduct themselves.”  The scope of this requirement extends not only to users, but to anyone with whom Members interact, including colleagues and the general public.  Amongst other things, showing ‘respect for others’ includes not deceiving or manipulating others, not taking credit for others’ work and not spreading false or defamatory information about people.  More subtly, showing respect for people includes such things as avoiding the temptation to publicly ridicule others’ ideas and giving people a fair hearing. Often, a lack of respect can be demonstrated by non-verbal communication as much as by a person’s choice of words, their tone of voice or the volume with which they speak.

3.5 In determining whether a course of conduct demonstrates a lack of respect, it is important to consider how you would feel if the behaviour in question were being directed at you instead. It is also worth remembering that the same behaviour may have a different impact on different people; what one person may find offensive may not have any effect on another. Often, people of different social and cultural backgrounds can perceive the same conduct and behaviour very differently.

Voicing opinions

3.6 Showing respect for others does not mean that Members cannot voice their opinions or disagree with others where they hold an opposing point of view. Legitimate challenge and constructive comment are to be encouraged both in a professional setting as well as in other contexts. Nor is the Code intended to impinge upon Members’ rights to free speech or to express their religious and political views. It is expected however that where disagreements do arise, Members will act with courtesy, recognising the rights of others to hold and express different ideas and opinions from them.

3.7 The IFoA promotes equality and diversity and the development of an inclusive profession that incorporates people from a range of backgrounds. Members are encouraged to behave in a way that recognises and respects diversity and different cultures.

Duties outside the actuarial profession

3.8 The Code applies to all Members’ other conduct if that conduct could reasonably be considered to reflect upon the profession”.  This means that conduct outside of a Member’s actuarial professional life that demonstrates a lack of respect towards others will be caught by the Code, but only to the extent that it may have an impact upon the reputation of the actuarial profession as a whole. In a personal context therefore, not all behaviour that demonstrates a lack of respect will be caught by the Code.  Members are expected to use reasonable judgment in determining what behaviour is appropriate.


The duty of confidentiality

3.9 Users and the general public are entitled to expect that sensitive information will not be misused, treated carelessly or, other than in exceptional circumstances, be shared without permission.  This is reflected in the second amplification under the Integrity principle which provides that: Members should respect confidentiality.”

3.10 Confidential information to which a Member may have access includes personal data about third parties such as insurance or pension policy holders.  It may also include communications from clients, such as emails, and some commercially sensitive information relating to businesses with which the Member interacts.  Sometimes confidential information will not be labelled as such, and Members will need to exercise judgment as to whether there is a reasonable expectation that information should be considered confidential. 

3.11 Information which is already lawfully in the public domain is not ordinarily confidential. 

When confidential information may rightly be disclosed

3.12 The duty of confidentiality, while important, is not absolute. Information can be disclosed in certain circumstances where disclosure is required by law, or is permitted by law, and can be justified in the public interest.  The IFoA recognises that certain situations will arise in which legal or other requirements will override a Member’s duty of confidentiality.  That is why the specific amplification dealing with confidentiality has been drafted as a ‘should’ provision, rather than a ‘must’.  Indeed, the ‘Speaking up’ principle of the Code may require confidential information to be disclosed under certain circumstances – in such situations Members need to carefully consider the extent and manner of disclosure necessary and avoid disclosing more than is necessary to fulfil their obligations.

3.13 A number of statutes empower government and other bodies, for example HM Revenue and Customs in the UK, to require any person to disclose documents and/or information.  This might be, for example, in situations where confidential information indicates criminal wrongdoing.  In the absence of a user’s specific consent, it would be prudent to check under which statutory power the information is being sought and consider the relevant provisions carefully before proceeding with the disclosure.

3.14 Disclosures which are permitted by law, and justified in the public interest, might include situations in which criminal or unethical conduct is indicated, but where there is no legal requirement to disclose, or where disclosure is necessary for the purposes of reporting a serious impropriety to a relevant regulatory body. 


Guidance on duty of confidentiality in relation to duty of disclosure and avoidance of conflicts of interest

3.15 Further guidance on the interaction between the duties of confidentiality and disclosure is set out in Section 7 of this Guidance.  Guidance on the duty of confidentiality, as it relates to conflicts of interest, can be found in Section 5 of this Guidance. 

The duty of confidentiality is a difficult area; therefore, you might want to take legal advice on these issues.

Filter or search events

Start date
E.g., 20/10/2020
End date
E.g., 20/10/2020

Events calendar

  • GIRO 2020 Virtual Conference

    Available to watch globally in November.
    02-13 November 2020
    Spaces available

    This year's GIRO has been re-designed as a virtual conference to offer members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the general insurance field via online webinars. All sessions will be recorded and made available to purchase and re-watch post-event on the IFoA's GI Online Learning Resource area

  • Life Conference 2020 Webinar Series

    Online
    16 November 2020 - 27 November 2020

    Spaces available

    This year's Life Conference has been re-designed as a virtual conference to offer members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the life insurance field via online webinars. All sessions will be recorded and made available to purchase and re-watch post-event on the IFoA's website.

  • Spaces available

    The webinar will discuss the challenges and opportunities schemes face in evaluating end game options, choosing a target state and understanding the impact this strategic decision could have on member outcomes long after the “end state” is reached. Adolfo, Kevin and Rhian bring over 60 years of experience in the industry and a variety of perspectives as scheme actuary, covenant adviser, trustee, de-risking adviser and insurer.

  • Spaces available

    Retail banking is going through a period of substantial change as it moves into the digital age. Banks have large amounts of data about their customers and about their risks. Open data application programming interface (APIs) and data science are enabling banks to use their data to offer innovative and sometimes personalised services. Data science is also adding value in risk areas such as fraud detection and cyber security. At the same time, the move to online banking is making it easier for firms including fintechs to enter banking without having to establish branch networks.

  • Spaces available

    Cash-flow driven investing is a game-changer for DB pension funds navigating their end-game. Suitable for sponsors who want to reduce risks on their balance sheets. And for trustees, it shifts the focus to providing greater certainty of returns, managing funding level volatility and ensuring they have enough income to pay cash-flow requirements.

  • Spaces available

    Patrick Kennedy, Partner at Gateley Legal and Founding Director of Entrust (a leading professional pensions trustee company), will be delivering an update on the latest legal developments during the course of 2020. With both a pensions legal perspective and over 25 years of trustee service, Patrick will seek to highlight how the letter of the law has continued to evolve against the backdrop of a difficult and challenging year

  • Spaces available

    The talk will provide an understanding of the priorities and relationships between deficit reduction contributions, in the context of wider scheme funding, and different types of value outflow from the employer based on the working party’s recently published report. 

  • Spaces available

    Covid-19 has required an urgent and cross-practice initiative to facilitate the extensive impact this pandemic has across all industries. IFoA members have been keen to contribute in a different way, so we developed the IFoA Covid-19 Action Taskforce [ICAT] to coordinate our effort, with a more efficient governance.

    We have over 500 volunteers and countless topics which we have amalgamated into 93 workstreams.