Job Dismissal With Non-Disclosure Agreement: Disclose Or Not Disclose To CFA Institute?

Short version: should I disclose the circumstances of my dismissal from my last job in the professional conduct section of the exam application if I signed a non-disclosure/non-disparagement agreement with my previous employer when I left? I’m concerned that if I disclose to the CFA institute, they will contact my previous employer to get their side of the story, which would reveal that I had violated the terms of my NDA and my previous employer could hold me liable for my severance pay plus interest. However, I’m also worried that if I don’t disclose the allegations made against me - even though in my eyes I’m not guilty of any code violation - the fact that I withheld the situation from the CFA institute could be held against me in the future (ie if I pass level 3 and they want to know more about my 4 years of relevant experience). That being said, I’m not sure that what I was accused of would even be a CFA violation even if it were true, unless maybe you wanted to take an extremely legalistic interpretation of the “not denying your employer the advantage of your skills and abilities” bit under Standard IV(A) “Duty to your Employer”.

In a nutshell, I was working at a financial services firm, had been put on formal written notice shortly before my dismissal, and the allegations in this notice were in large part performance related (eg poor time management, lack of attention to detail etc). My job didn’t directly involve handling securities in any way, and I wasn’t accused of anything like fraud/embezzlement/mishandling of client information. My employer then tried to have my dismissal classified as a firing in order to deny me unemployment benefits, so I explained the situation in an appeal to the state labor department, and ultimately won the appeal as my employer didn’t provide sufficient evidence (I knew their claims were bullshit). These are the key details, but I can provide more if you want.

E-mail CFA Institute ( and ask them.

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