Grey matters ethical dilemma: Continuing professional dishonesty

A CISI Chartered member suspects that his manager, also a Chartered MCSI, is claiming CPD for events at which she has not remained for the duration. However, there is no question about her competence or capability. What, if anything, should he do?

Chris is an investment manager at Hardworking Investments, and has worked there for four years. When he started in financial services, he worked hard to attain his CISI qualifications, and has worked his way up to Chartered MCSI. Chris takes completing his continuing professional development (CPD) requirements very seriously, and regularly attends training sessions organised by Hardworking Investments.

Monica is head of investments (an FCA certification function) at the firm. She joined Hardworking Investments in the previous year, and her arrival was much anticipated, as she is known to be one of the smartest and most knowledgeable professionals around. Since starting her job, she has lived up to this reputation – speaking with authority on a variety of topics, ranging from technical expertise to regulatory updates, as well as soft skills, such as leadership and listening skills. Chris, along with his colleagues, is impressed and eager to learn a lot from the new head of their department.

For that reason, Chris decides to attend many of the same CPD sessions as Monica, anticipating that even if she is not on the panel or delivering the training, she will ask insightful and interesting questions which he can learn from. However, after attending a few of the same training sessions as Monica, Chris starts to recognise a pattern. Monica is usually already in the room when Chris arrives, deep in conversation with the trainer or speakers. Chris overhears her on several occasions asking the speakers about the key points they plan on covering in the session, which at first he thinks is entirely appropriate – she is a senior manager, after all, and he assumes she wants the opportunity to ask them some specialist questions before the rest of the attendees arrive. However, Monica then prefers to sit near the back of the room near the door, and Chris notes that she usually leaves the sessions after around 15 minutes – slipping away with an apologetic smile to the event organiser.

In meetings, Chris has noticed that – when asked about upcoming trends or updates – Monica just tends to repeat the information she gleans from speakers before events without giving too much additional detail, and passing off any interesting insights as her own. Nevertheless, on other occasions Monica comes up with original solutions to problems, and is clearly very knowledgeable about technical subject matters.
She usually leaves the sessions after around 15 minutes

Hardworking Investments gauges attendance at CPD events through the use of a sign-in sheet, which employees can sign either at the start or end of the training sessions. If attendees are CISI members, Joe – Hardworking Investment’s learning and development assistant ­– then logs into the CISI ‘Super user’ page to load members’ attendance into their CISI MyCPD logs.

Chris has witnessed Monica adding her name to the sign-in sheet at the start of sessions, before leaving early. He is aware that, like him, Monica is a Chartered MCSI, but she does not attend many CISI CPD sessions – preferring to attend the ones offered internally. When he has seen her at CISI events, she has stayed for the duration of the talk.

Chris wonders if Monica is aware that she is automatically being awarded an hour of CPD for each of the Hardworking Investments training sessions she attends, even if she only stays for around 15 minutes. When he is feeling particularly suspicious, he wonders whether Monica is being deliberately dishonest, but usually dismisses these feelings on the basis that Monica is a well-liked and respected person, and that she is clearly knowledgeable and has the skills to do her job at a high level.

What should Chris do?

  1. Speak to Joe, and establish if Monica lets him know when she has had to leave training sessions early. If she does not, Chris should inform the learning and development manager that Monica has been leaving internal CPD training sessions early.
  2. He should do nothing – this is not his responsibility and Monica is responsible for her own learning and development. Besides, everyone has busy periods where they are unable to dedicate huge amounts of time to attend training sessions.
  3. Report his suspicions to the CISI, as they may add Monica to their next CPD audit.
  4. Approach Monica and indirectly enquire about her CPD (eg, “I had to leave a CPD session early last week, do I need to let anyone know?”), hoping that this will lead to a change in behaviour or perhaps even an explanation.


This dilemma appears in the July 2019 print edition of The Review, out soon. The CISI's opinion will be published in the Q3 2019 print edition of The Review
Published: 20 Jun 2019
  • Integrity & Ethics
  • grey matters ethical dilemma
  • CPD
  • continuing professional dishonesty
  • Chartered MCSI

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