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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.

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Events calendar

  • Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    This free 1 hour CPD webinar is designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020 and is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive.

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    Modelling the structure and trends of cancer morbidity risk is important for pricing and reserving in related health insurance fields such as critical illness insurance and care provision. We model the dynamics of cancer incidence over time in different regions in England, using 1981-2016 ONS data. The modelling allows estimation of cancer rates at various age, year, gender and region levels, following a Bayesian setting to account for statistical uncertainty. Our analysis indicates significant regional variation in cancer incidence rates. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    In this talk we will outline the steps Aviva took in pulling together our first large-scale disclosures on the exposure of our business to climate change published in March 2019; in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. After touching on why insurers have such an important role in climate change, we'll cover a brief “how-to” guide for those who have not yet embarked on thinking about these topics before giving a case study of how the learnings from a TCFD disclosure exercise can be applied to investment portfolios.

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    The insurance industry currently underwrites customers with diabetes based on a range of factors, medical expertise and various medical studies. The work undertaken by the Diabetes Working Party would help the industry to approach this using current research findings to update and enhance how potential risk from diabetes is considered. This includes the need to understand the underwriting implications as treatments improve, and potentially to develop new products that are tailored to those with diabetes. This webinar will present our latest findings in the management of this important chronic condition which will include research in collaboration with the ARC. 

  • Fully booked.

    This event is now fully booked. To join the wait list, please register here.

    Get ready for the new CPD Scheme launching on 1 September. Join us for a discussion on what the new Scheme will look like in practice. There will be an opportunity to field questions to the IFoA Executive on how the Scheme’s requirements will affect you.

  • Asia Conference Webinar Series

    Webinars
    1 September 2020 - 24 September 2020

    Spaces available

    There will be a prestigious line-up of international speakers discussing the insurance and financial industry’s innovation and change in Asia.  The conference will take place throughout September via an online platform. The webinars consist of plenary speaking sessions and a series of workshop sessions including Life, GI, Data Science, Sustainability, Risk Management and Investment.

    This will be the perfect opportunity for you to discover,ask questions and be at the forefront of current and developing actuarial/financial topics and trends in Asia.

     

  • Spaces available

    In this webinar we will provide an insight into enterprise-wide risk management in banking, showing similarities to the world of insurance as well as identifying differences. Just as insurance companies have to submit an ORSA, so bank’s have to submit their own equivalent, the Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process or ICAAP.

  • Examination Preparation

    Webinar
    10 September 2020

    Spaces available

    IFoA Webinar on Examination guidance for those candidates sitting Examinations in September, delivered by the Education Actuaries

  • Spaces available

    This free 90 minute webinar is designed to support the IFoA CPD Co-ordinators, and others, involved in supporting our members to achieve their CPD requirements. 

    The programme will include an overview of the new CPD Scheme; specifically sharing with you key messages to support you implement and embrace the new CPD Scheme for our members within your organisation and regional community; how to arrange a reflective practice discussion; and an interactive reflective practice discussion learning exercise.  In addition, delegates will gain information about accessing, and making the most of the IFoA event Toolkits which you can make use of to run your own in-house events and events for regional communities.