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Ethics violation 101.

If you wear this in a CFA exam you will be a bad person

To our knowledge there has not yet been an instance of someone attending a CFA exam naked, but if there were it would not (seemingly) be explicitly against the CFA rules. Attending a CFA exam whilst wearing a Fitbit is, by comparison, the sort of misdemeanor that could get you written up by a proctor and mean your 300+ hours of revision will come to nothing at all.

With the December 2019 CFA exams approaching this Saturday, the CFA Institute seems to have decided to emphasize its Fitbit phobia with a pseudo-exam question intended to underscore the inherent immorality of sitting in an exam hall with a device intended to measure your activity levels.

It cites the sorry case of a student called 'Ocampo' who, 'feels confident that she is prepared for the exam because she has spent many hours studying the curriculum,' but who wears a Fitbit into the exam hall.  Halfway through the afternoon session, a Proctor notices the offending item and reports her.

The CFA asks interested parties to choose which of the following mutiple choice answers apply to Ocampo and her 'ethics violation.' Her actions are....

  1. acceptable because the device is common, and she wears it all the time.
  2. acceptable as long as she never looked at the device or “used it.”
  3. acceptable because the proctor did not speak to her about the Fitbit before the exam began.
  4. acceptable if she promptly took the Fitbit to the personal belongings area and left it with her exam preparation materials once notified by the proctor.
  5. none of the above.

The Institute promises to enlighten everyone on right answer later in the week, but it's almost certainly E, given that Fitbits are expressly prohibited (along with weapons, desk clocks, rulers and food, among other things) from CFA exam halls. There are also historic horror stories of people who accidentally started the exams wearing a fitbit and started shaking after realizing their mistake. 

It's not entirely clear what the CFA Institute has got against Fitbits or stop watches or desk clocks, but the implication is clear: you are ethical if you follow the rules and a violator if you don't. With four days to go, there's still time to add this to revision schedules, and to leave your Fitbit at home.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available.

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Photo by EVREN AYDIN on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
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  • Ju
    Julia Prado
    17 December 2019

    I passed all the 3 exams and agree to CFA's rules. The knowledge has been very useful to me in my job as equity portfolio manager.

  • An
    Angry Dick
    4 December 2019

    Stupid outdated rules, stupid outdated exams, useless outdated knowledge,
    and proficiency which is going to past.

    and yeah, I passed 1st and skipped the rest.

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