Ethics - Plagiarism

I encountered a question as below:

Q. Jean-Luc Schlumberger, CFA, is an independent research analyst providing equity research on companies listed on exchanges in emerging markets. He often incorporates statistical data he obtains from the web sites of the World Bank and the central banks of various countries into the body of his research reports. While not indicated within the reports, whenever his clients ask where he gets his information he informs them the information is in the public domain but he doesn’t keep his own records. When the clients ask for the specific web site addresses he provides the information. Which Standard has Schlumberger least likely violated?

  1. Record Retention
  2. Misrepresentation
  3. Performance Presentation

C is correct because Standard III(D)–Performance Presentation pertains to investment performance information, and there is no indication any violation has occurred.

A is incorrect because under Standard V©–Record Retention, Members and Candidates must develop and maintain appropriate records to support their investment analyses, recommendations, actions, and other investment-related communications with clients and prospective clients.

B is incorrect because Schlumberger has plagiarized the information he obtained from the websites of the World Bank and the various central banks by not quoting the sources within his research reports. This is a violation of Standard I©–Misrepresentation. My Question : Isn’t the world bank and various central banks recognized financial and statistical reporting sources so need not credit the sources? In fact, I always run into confusion in topics of Ethics, not really doing well in this topic…

Agree with you. I think that this questions is just really poorly phrased (where did you get this question?). The way it is written there should be no violation, as CB statistical data are public and recognized sources there should not be any violation.

It is from the CFA Institute Practice Questions. For other topics normally I could score 70%+ but for ethics I could hardly get above 60%. So frustrating.

The question states that Schlumberger does not cite the source(s) of the statistical data that he is using; “While not indicated within the reports…”. Standard IC is quite clear that you need to identify the source of material that is not your own when used. Whether or not the source of the material is a well-known, ‘public’ and/or recognised one is irrelevant in this regard, and you’ll come to find in the workforce that citations are (or at the very least absolutely should be) common practice for any piece of work, from internal paper to client presentation.

Be careful with the wording of these questions - you are being asked to identify the least likely violation from three possible choices. The answer here is clearly C as there is no suggestion in the body of the question that there was any misstatement of performance and/or misleading conduct, which would likely represent a contravention of Standard IIID.