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25734 Ethics and Sustainability in Finance

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2019 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business: Finance
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 25742 Financial Management
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses.
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


The highest ethical standards are necessary to instil public trust in the investment profession, ensuring the efficient functioning of the financial system. Additionally, ethical practices by finance and investment professionals benefit all market participants and stakeholders, and lead to increased investor confidence in global capital markets. The principles and guidance presented in the CFA Institute's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct provide the ethical context for this subject to allow students to follow, promote and develop the highest ethical standards when pursuing professional careers in all related financial areas such as investments, portfolio management and financial planning. There has been growth in socially responsible and sustainable investments and indices in the financial markets. This subject provides an understanding of the aims of such investments and the issues required to be incorporated into sustainable investments. Current industry practice is analysed and incorporated into the underlying theories.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. evaluate issues in the finance industry related to ethical and professional conduct against ethical theories and principles
2. assess various situations involving issues of professional conduct and integrity and formulate an appropriate response to actions that violate the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct
3. analyse investment opportunities and formulate strategies in relation to social responsibility and sustainability

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Ethical practices are essential for the efficient functioning of the financial system by instilling public trust in financial markets and the investment profession. This subject aims to allow students to develop specific skills and knowledge of ethical conduct in the investment profession based on a framework for ethical practices for investment professionals. The subject provides the ethical context in which students will operate when pursuing professional careers in Australia or worldwide in all related financial areas such as corporate finance, investments, portfolio management and financial planning. The increasing concern around the scarcity of resources and growth in sustainable indices and investment opportunities is investigated in this subject. This sustainability component focuses on incorporating sustainability issues into the investment.

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject will use a seminar approach and industry guest speakers will be arranged. These methods will be supplemented with both printed and electronic learning materials and resources. The UTS web-based communication tool UTS Online will be used to share information and encourage interaction between students and staff. Class discussion and involvement will be encouraged.

Content (topics)

  • Ethical theories
  • Ethical decision making
  • Ethics in finance
  • International business ethics
  • CFA Institute Standards of Professional Conduct
  • The sustainable investment market
  • Impact of sustainability in the investment context


Assessment task 1: In-Class Quizzes (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 3

Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

10 minutes

Assessment task 2: In-class Presentations (Group)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):


Groupwork: Group, group assessed
Weight: 20%

Assessment task 3: Final Exam (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2 and 3

Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%

Two hour examination.

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks.

Required texts

  • Excerpts from textbook chapters, case studies and real-world ethics and sustainability news items and articles.
  • Standards of Practice Handbook (11th ed.), CFA Institute, Charlottesville, VA, USA


  • Boatright, J.R. 2012. Ethics and the Conduct of Business (7th ed.), Pearson Prentice Hall, NJ, USA
  • Staub-Bisang M.,2012, Sustainable Investing for Institutional Investors; Risks, Regulations and Strategies, Wiley and Sons, Singapore
  • Sustainable Investing; The Art of Long-Term Performance, 2008, edited by Krosinsky C. and Robins N., Earthscan, United Kingdom