AFA Statement on Updates to the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics

Friday, November 30, 2018

We call upon all AFA Members to follow and promote high standards of professional conduct and ethics as outlined in the AFA Code, as we believe the principles embodied within it are vital to the maintenance and growth of a healthy and successful scientific community that is open and welcoming to all contributors.  While the AFA does not monitor individual behavior, we reply upon and support the activities of local institutions and individuals to encourage appropriate professional conduct and high ethical standards.

To empower individuals to defend and promote these standards, and to support the reporting of concerns, it is critically important that individuals who stand up for their rights or act to protect others may do so without fear of retaliation.  We have therefore amended the code to clearly indicate that such retaliation is neither appropriate professional conduct nor ethical behavior. The AFA unequivocally denounces all forms of harassment and retaliation as having no place in our profession.

AFA officers, directors, and editors have been elected or nominated to their positions with the expectation that they will diligently serve the AFA and its members in a manner that befits the AFA’s high standards.

To be sure these standards are maintained, we have introduced an amendment to the AFA Bylaws to allow for the removal of an officer, director, fellow, or editor for appropriate cause, which could include a violation of the code of professional conduct and ethics. We have also updated the association’s guidelines to indicate that professional conduct is a criterion that should be considered in nominations, awards, prominent speaker invitations, and other important positions and activities.

In developing these guidelines, the AFA considered carefully its capacity and expertise with regard to enforcement and compliance activities. The AFA has a duty to maintain high standards within its core activities, and has developed and will continue to improve its processes and procedures for doing so.  Individuals with concerns or complaints regarding conduct pertaining to the activities of the AFA or the Journal of Finance may contact any AFA officer or use this link.

The AFA has always been an open membership organization.  It does not certify expertise or qualifications, nor is it an honorific title or a position of power. Importantly, membership does not obligate interactions with others. As such, the AFA does not monitor or vet individual memberships. Nonetheless, we expect all members to follow and promote high ethical standards in the profession, and to support those who do so.  We believe that by being inclusive and working collectively, we can have the most positive overall impact on our profession.

Note: The amendment to the AFA Bylaws was passed by the AFA Board and is subject to approval by a vote of the general membership.  The general membership vote will be conducted by email in January 2019. [The January 2019 vote passed and this amendment was added to the AFA Bylaws .]

Links to Key documents:
AFA Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics (revised with new statement on retaliation)
AFA Bylaws (revised)
Procedures for Nominating Committee (revised)
Editorial Ethics Guidelines (new)