Lunch Crunch

Question 1 - 86994 Christopher Lance, CFA, Chuck Cunningham, and Lucy Hunt, CFA, went to graduate school together and have remained close friends ever since. Lance and Hunt earned their CFA charters this past June and Cunningham is a Level III candidate. Lance, Cunningham, and Hunt have dinner every month at Cunningham’s country club, one of the most prestigious in the metropolitan area where they live. Lance was a well-respected research analyst covering the pharmaceutical industry at an international broker-dealer before accepting a job as Vice President, Investor Relations, at IMed, a large multinational pharmaceutical company that he covered as an analyst. Since he started coverage of IMed, Lance had consistently been named “top analyst” of the pharmaceutical industry by Investment Professional, the leading journal of the investment industry. In his new position at IMed, Lance is the principal spokesperson on the company’s financial performance and is responsible for developing and maintaining good relationships with the company’s shareholders, especially large institutional investors, and with approximately 30 research analysts who issue research reports and make recommendations about publicly-traded equity and debt securities. It is April 12th and Lance is preparing to conduct the next conference call following the release on April 15th of IMed’s quarterly earnings. Participating in the call will be Lance’s former colleague and good friend, Cunningham, and the other analysts who cover IMed. In addition, Hunt, a portfolio manager at Primary Pensions, a major institutional investor, has told Lance she will also be on the call. Primary Pensions has accumulated the largest single holding in IMed equity. Lance is concerned about this call because IMed’s president, Bill Norton, has just told the management team that sales of Mediplex, its new cancer drug, have begun to sag after rumors of serious side effects, including death, have hit the press. Norton told Lance that if sales continue to fall that this year’s earnings would be considerably less than the current consensus forecast. Norton is also concerned that the regulatory agency that approves the sale of drugs will repeal IMed’s license to market Mediplex. Cunningham is a research analyst at Lance’s former employer and has taken over coverage of IMed following Lance’s resignation. Until his promotion to Lance’s former position, Cunningham was a junior analyst covering the oil and gas industry. Although knowledgeable about fundamental financial analysis and equity valuation, he is unfamiliar with IMed and the pharmaceutical industry. Cunningham has been reviewing the past 5 years of IMed’s financial statements and Lance’s research reports in preparation for participating in IMed’s quarterly conference call to discuss its quarterly earnings release. Cunningham is under considerable pressure from his employer to meet or exceed Lance’s reputation and be rated “top analyst” by Investment Professional. His firm’s currently rates IMed as a “strong buy” based on Lance’s last research report. Based on his own preliminary analysis, Cunningham has a hard time justifying a “hold” recommendation. He is puzzled by several of the earnings adjustments that Lance made to achieve his target share price for IMed. He plans to ask Lance about these adjustments at their dinner on April 14th. Hunt has been managing a large cap equity portfolio at Primary Pensions for 5 years. Based almost exclusively on Lance’s buy recommendations in his research report, she began purchasing IMed several years ago just before it made several major acquisitions that contributed to its phenomenal growth and to her portfolio’s performance over the last 5 years. Since Lance moved to IMed, Hunt has been doing some due diligence and has become concerned that the growth of IMed’s earnings is overly dependent on sales of Mediplex. Based on her enthusiasm for IMed and her portfolio’s performance, other managers at Primary Pensions have also taken considerable positions in IMed to the extent that Primary Pensions is IMed’s largest single stockholder. If she is right, Hunt knows that she will need to reduce her portfolio’s holdings. Since Primary Pensions prohibits its employees from owning individual equity securities, Hunt has no personal investment in IMed. However, she had boasted about IMed’s performance to her mother and is aware that her mother’s investment club invested 10 percent of the club’s assets in IMed. Hunt is preparing her questions for the upcoming conference call and her exit strategy if the answers confirm her fears. Lance, Cunningham, and Hunt met for their regular monthly dinner on April 14th. Cunningham opens the after dinner discussion by questioning Lance about his new job and asks him if he and Hunt should anticipate any surprises at tomorrow’s conference call. Cunningham specifically asks Lance if IMed will meet or beat analyst expectations and the consensus earnings forecast. Lance responds that, under current securities laws, he is unable to discuss details of IMed’s performance with Cunningham and Hunt and that they’ll both be briefed with the other analysts and shareholders on tomorrow’s call. Shortly thereafter, the three friends say their good-byes. Hunt and Cunningham wish Lance well on the next day’s conference call. Part 1) What Standard governs Lance’s response to Cunningham’s question and is he in compliance? Standard Compliance A) I: Professionalism Yes B) VII: Responsibilities as a CFA Institute Member or CFA Candidate Yes C) III: Duties to Clients No Part 2) Hunt’s concerns about IMed increased after her dinner with Cunningham and Lance. She believes that Lance would have told them if IMed’s earnings would meet analysts’ expectations. She is convinced that Lance’s failure to “look her in the eye” when he answered Cunningham’s question confirms her suspicions that IMed is in trouble and is determined to start selling Primary Pensions’ shares of IMed first thing in the morning. Based on her conclusions from the dinner with Lance and Cunningham, which of the following best describes the actions Hunt should take regarding IMed? A) Hunt can both tell her mother to sell the investment club’s shares of IMed and sell the shares in the Primary Pensions’ portfolio. B) Hunt cannot sell IMed and cannot encourage others to sell IMed. C) Hunt can sell the IMed shares in the Primary Pensions’ portfolio but cannot encourage her mother to sell the investment club’s shares. Part 3) If Lance had disclosed material that was nonpublic information about the decline of sales of Mediplex and its effect on IMed’s earnings, Cunningham would have been least likely to be obligated to do which of the following? A) Make reasonable efforts to achieve public dissemination of material nonpublic information disclosed in a breach of duty. B) Not trade in shares of IMed. C) Inform the appropriate regulatory authority that Lance had violated securities laws. Part 4) Dinners with Lance, Cunningham and Hunt at Cunningham’s exclusive country club usually cost more than $200 per person. When he and Lance worked for the same broker-dealer and Hunt was a client, Cunningham has always paid the bill. Which Standard will Lance violate if he continues to allow Cunningham to pay for dinner? A) Standard IV(B), Additional Compensation Arrangements. B) Standard I(B), Independence and Objectivity. C) Standard III(B), Fair Dealing. Part 5) Cunningham arrives in his office early on the day of the conference call. He has conducted an extensive analysis of IMed’s financial statements and has reviewed his assessment of Lance’s conclusions in the report that Lance issued before his departure. He regrets having asked Lance about IMed’s earnings at the previous night’s dinner and decides to ask Lance some very pointed questions in public during the conference call, especially regarding Lance’s inclusion of some significant non-recurring gains in operating income. Based on his own knowledge and experience, Cunningham doesn’t believe that Lance’s target price for IMed would be sustained. He decides that, if he doesn’t get clear answers to his questions on the call, he will recommend to client’s in his research report that IMed’s rating drop to “hold”. Cunningham’s research report and recommendation is sent to all of his firm’s clients and is not directed to a specific client. In conducting his analysis and developing his recommendation, which of the following requirements of Standard V, Investment Analysis, Recommendations and Actions, would Cunningham least likely be concerned with? A) Clearly differentiate fact from opinion in making recommendations. B) Consider the appropriateness and suitability of investment recommendations for each client. C) Exercise diligence and thoroughness in making investment recommendations. Part 6) Lance is very nervous before the conference call. Norton, IMed’s president, has told him that he must not disclose the decline in sales of Mediplex. During the call, Hunt asks Lance whether the rumors of the side effects of Mediplex are true and whether these rumors have negatively impacted sales. Lance assures Hunt that Mediplex sales are strong and that IMed is confident that sales will continue to rise for the remainder of the year. Which of the following best describes Lance’s actions when he stated that sales of Mediplex were strong? A) Lance violated Standard I(D), Misconduct. B) Lance complied with Standard IV(A), Loyalty to Employer. C) Lance violated Standard III(B), Fair Dealing.

Hey ditch. You haven’t made it here yet. You’ll be here soon enough…get back to level II. ; )

Just thought I’d share the wealth. Ethics seems to be the true universal topic to study. Thanks for the vote of encouragement!

Oh, my bad. I saw orders on level II and thought you were filling them up here. Thanks.

Since I’m here, I have a few quesetions; 1. Is Schweser or Stalla better? 2. Can I use the 2009 material for 2010? 3. Can someone send me their notes/screenshots/piratedpdfs to JK, I’ll post the answers after lunch.

  1. A 2. B 3. A 4. B 5. B 6. A

so ditchdigger, are you headed to STU this fall or to the House that Curtis built?

Part 1) Your answer: C was incorrect. The correct answer was A) I: Professionalism Yes Lance’s response to Cunningham’s question is covered under Standard I(A) which requires members to maintain knowledge of and comply with applicable laws and regulations (including the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct). In this case, Lance specifically references the requirements of securities laws not to discuss IMed’s performance in advance of the quarterly conference call. If he had done so, he would have disclosed material nonpublic information, since he knows that information about the decline in sales of Mediplex will have an adverse affect on IMed’s share price. In addition, Standard I(A) prohibits Lance from knowingly participating or assisting in any violation of such laws. If Lance had responded in any other way to Cunningham’s question he would potentially have assisted Cunningham and Hunt in violating Standard II(A), Material Nonpublic Information. (Study Session 1, LOS 2.a) This question tested from Session 1, Reading 2, LOS a, b. Part 2) Your answer: B was correct! According to Standard V(A), Diligence and Reasonable Basis, Hunt is required to exercise diligence and thoroughness in taking investment actions and she is required to have a reasonable and adequate basis, supported by appropriate research and investigation, for such actions. Her conclusions about Lance’s response and actions during the dinner do not constitute a reasonable and adequate basis for selling IMed shares from Primary Pensions’ portfolio. In addition, even if Hunt were to reach the same conclusion after developing a reasonable basis for selling IMed shares, she would be able to sell Primary Pensions’ share of IMed but would be prohibited under Standard VI(B), Priority of Transactions, from telling her mother and encouraging her to sell the investment club’s shares until after she sells the shares in the Primary Pensions portfolio. Members must ensure that transactions for clients and employers have priority over transactions in securities or other investments of which a member is a beneficial owner so that such personal transactions do not operate adversely to their clients’ or employer’s interests. Hunt’s relationship to her mother could reasonably be assumed to constitute an “indirect” interest in the investment club’s securities. (Study Session 1, LOS 2.a) This question tested from Session 1, Reading 2, LOS a, b. Part 3) Your answer: A was incorrect. The correct answer was C) Inform the appropriate regulatory authority that Lance had violated securities laws. Unless required by law, the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct do not require members to report legal violations to the appropriate governmental or regulatory authority. Such disclosure may be prudent in certain circumstances. Cunningham would be prohibited under Standard II(A), Material Nonpublic Information, from trading in the securities of IMed or causing others to trade by issuing a research report incorporating the material nonpublic information before that information is made public by IMed. Cunningham would also be required to make reasonable efforts to have Lance and IMed make public disclosure of the information. (Study Session 1, LOS 2.a) This question tested from Session 1, Reading 2, LOS a, b. Part 4) Your answer: A was incorrect. The correct answer was B) Standard I(B), Independence and Objectivity. Over the course of a year, Lance will have received gifts of more $2400 from Cunningham. Standard I(B), Independence and Objectivity, covers receipt of gifts from external parties that may try to influence members’ professional actions to the possible detriment of Lance’s employer, IMed, and the investing public. Even though Lance and Cunningham are long-time friends and former colleagues at Cunningham’s employer, the potential for undue influence exists. Lance should be particularly concerned given Cunningham’s inappropriate question regarding IMed’s earnings. In determining how best to comply with Standard I(B), Lance should no longer permit Cunningham to pay for his dinner and, given the prestigious nature of the country club, should also consider moving the monthly dinner to a different venue to avoid the appearance of impropriety. (Study Session 1, LOS 2.a) This question tested from Session 1, Reading 2, LOS a, b. Part 5) Your answer: B was correct! The research report and recommendation prepared by Cunningham is sent to all relevant clients of the broker-dealer and is not directed toward a particular client or portfolio. In simple terms, Cunningham’s responsibility is to develop a forecast of IMed’s share price and to make a general recommendation to buy, sell, or hold shares of IMed based on the difference between the current market price and his forecast. Cunningham does not interact with individual clients and is not making a specific recommendation to a client to take an investment action. He is not expected to have knowledge of the risk and return objectives, portfolio holdings or unique circumstances and constraints of individual clients. Therefore, he does not have a responsibility to consider the suitability of his recommendation for each client of the firm. Cunningham’s research report should contain sufficient information so that individual clients and their investment advisors can judge the appropriateness and suitability to the client’s particular situation. (Study Session 1, LOS 2.a) This question tested from Session 1, Reading 2, LOS a, b. Part 6) Your answer: A was correct! Lance violated Standards I(D), Misconduct, when he lied about the sales of Mediplex. Under Standard I(D), members are prohibited from engaging in any professional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation or commit any act that reflects adversely on their dishonesty, trustworthiness, or professional misconduct. Neither Standard IV(A), Loyalty to Employer, which relates to independent practice that could result in compensation or other benefit in competition with their employer and does not relate in this situation nor Standard III(B), Fair Dealing, which relates to dealing fairly and objectively when making recommendations to clients, are relevant or apply to this situation. Lance is also NOT in compliance with Standard I, Professionalism, because he violated Standard I(D), Misconduct. (Study Session 1, LOS 2.a) This question tested from Session 1, Reading 2, LOS a, b.

Angbuh Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > so ditchdigger, are you headed to STU this fall or > to the House that Curtis built? I’m going to UST. Carlson did not accept me. Are you from the area?

I’ll take 83% :slight_smile:

DD2CFA, Not from the area. Only spent 2 yrs in the Twin Cities (went to Carlson). Good luck in school (and on the CFA).

Bummer…I know a couple people at my work that went to STU for MBA…one is very successful (VP) and the other is one of the most annoying people I have every met…soooo whatever that’s worth ditchdigger2CFA Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Angbuh Wrote: > -------------------------------------------------- > ----- > > so ditchdigger, are you headed to STU this fall > or > > to the House that Curtis built? > > > I’m going to UST. Carlson did not accept me. Are > you from the area?