Professional Conduct and Governance

CSI is the most experienced and trusted financial educator endorsed by regulatory authorities across Canada. When investors choose to work with a CIWM, they can feel confident knowing these professionals are held to high standards enforced through CSI’s rigorous process.

CIWM Code of Ethics

All CIWM designation holders agree to abide by the CIWM Code of Ethics, both when applying for the designation and when renewing it annually. Abiding by the Code means a CIWM commits to maintaining a high level of professionalism when dealing with the public.

Both CSI and the AIWM are committed to overseeing the ethical standards required of their designation holders. We monitor adherence to the CIWM Code of Ethics through reviews, periodic audits of the designation holder’s annual commitment and declaration requirements, handling public complaints and tracking news and regulatory reports.

All candidates must declare any legal action, allegations or complaints prior to being granted a designation and each year upon renewal of that designation. This declaration includes a “Fit and Proper Requirement” as a component of the application. The requirement sets out the following situations for self-declaration:

  • Any accusations of professional misconduct, disciplinary or reprimands or license suspensions or revocations by an employer, professional association or administrative or regulatory authority.
  • Currently bankrupt or in the past 5 years been adjudged bankrupt.
  • Convicted of a criminal offence in any jurisdiction for which a record suspension or a pardon has not been granted.
  • Convicted of an offence under any financial services or consumer protection legislation in any jurisdiction.

Any information provided, collected, stored, and used according to applicable law and our privacy policy will be shared with the Designation Ethics Committee to determine your suitability for the Fellowship. Declaring these situations will not necessarily impact certification or renewal. The Ethics Committee will review each situation individually.

Review the CIWM Code of Ethics

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Who You Are

You are a professional Certified International Wealth Manager designation holder. Your training has been designed to help you meet the evolving needs of today’s high-net-worth clients looking for comprehensive, integrated wealth solutions provided by a single, trusted expert. You have been empowered to deliver expertise across your client’s entire life cycle because of your in-depth knowledge of fund accumulation, preservation, conversion and transfer. You have learned to form strategic partnerships with a spectrum of relevant professionals and know when it is in the best interest of your client to tap into their collective wisdom.

What You Stand For

You are committed to fulfilling the holistic wealth needs of your clients to the best of your ability at all times and adhere to the general principles of conduct for your profession and industry. This means you hold yourself to the stringent guidelines of the Certified International Wealth Manager Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

What Your Responsibilities Are

Commitment To The Client

Know Your Client

Getting to know your client thoroughly is your cornerstone responsibility as a Certified International Wealth Manager Professional. An in-depth survey of your client’s financial circumstances will lay the groundwork. However, to fully understand their financial objectives, you must seek out and understand your client at a deeper, more personal level and encourage them to explore their own unique vision for the future. The comprehensive strategic wealth plan that you create must take into account how your client wants to live today and for the rest of their life, as well as what they want to leave behind

Exercise Due Diligence

As your responsibility extends beyond a client’s finances and into their real-life goals and vision, you are held to a high standard of due diligence whenever you make a recommendation to a client. You must carefully analyze the various dimensions of your client’s strategic wealth plan and the specifics of your recommendation so that any transaction is consistent with the overall objectives of your client’s plan.

Embrace Change

Change is a part of life, and you must be ready to embrace changes in your client’s circumstances or objectives. You must be fully prepared to advise your client about the consequences of any changes they wish to make to their strategic wealth plan. That way, you are working with the client to ensure that their strategic wealth plan is serving their life rather than the other way around. Therefore, you must update your client’s account documentation to reflect all changes, both material and goal-oriented, to ensure your recommendations remain congruent with your client’s current situation.

Build a Network of Professionals

It is essential that you develop a network of professionals so you can provide complete financial solutions for your client. This means establishing strategic partnerships with professionals in all financial areas ancillary to yours, whether it is insurance, real estate, tax planning, estate planning, etc. Your client must receive the best service available in whatever financial areas they wish to explore. It is your responsibility to determine when your client is better served by introducing an outside expert who is prepared to fulfill your client’s needs.

Trustworthiness, Honesty and Fairness

Provide Accurate Information

You must take steps to ensure all information you give to clients regarding their wealth plan is complete and accurate. This information should serve to facilitate your client’s involvement in the design and implementation of their strategic wealth plan at the level of detail they are comfortable with.

Put Your Client’s Interests First

Although you represent your client in the management of their strategic wealth plan, you must always remember that your client’s assets are solely their property. Consequently, you must not use your clients’ assets or influence them in any way other than for your clients’ purposes and according to their direction. In situations where you may have an interest that competes with your client, your client’s interest must take full precedence. You must disclose all real and potential conflicts of interest to your clients to ensure all your dealings with them are fair and objective.

Client Confidentiality

Alert Your Client to Legal Information Disclosure

You are required to collect identifiable data for each of your clients. This includes information contained in new account application forms, account statements, trade confirmations, cheques and financial records. When you are collecting identifiable data, you must notify your clients if and when any of their information is going to be disclosed to Regulatory Bodies and how it will be used and disclosed for regulatory purposes. Accordingly, you must decline to accept or administer an account if an individual does not give you consent to collect, use or disclose their personal information for regulatory or supervisory purposes.

Keep Your Client Information Confidential

Subject to legal disclosure requirements, you must keep the identities and personal and financial circumstances of your clients confidential at all times. Ensure that your client lists and other confidential records are securely stored and are not left out where the information can be taken or observed by visitors to your firm’s office. Further, you must not discuss any identifiable data about a client with friends, family, colleagues or other associates. With regards to your clients’ trading activity, you must not use this information in any way that would affect trades in personal and/or proprietary accounts or in the accounts of other clients.


Comply With Applicable Laws and Regulations

You must ensure that your conduct is in accordance with the laws and regulations of the financial services industry in the province or provinces and jurisdictions in which your registration is held. This includes, but is not limited to, the requirements of all Regulatory Bodies that you are associated with. If two rules apply, then you must comply with the more stringent rule. Further, you must not participate in nor assist in any act, directly or indirectly, that is in violation of any applicable law, rule or regulation of any government, governmental agency or regulatory organization governing your professional, financial or business activities.

Safeguard Inside Information

If you acquire non-public material information, you must not share, discuss or communicate this information in any form or manner to anyone outside of the original relationship. If you are an employee of a firm’s trading, corporate finance or research department, you must safeguard confidential non-public material information received in the normal course of business.


Maintain Ongoing Education

To ensure the growth of your client relationships and the success of their strategic wealth plans, you must be committed to your own personal growth and learning in such areas as leadership, communication, and goal exploration. As well, you must upgrade your technical and general industry knowledge in accordance with Certified International Wealth Manager continuing education requirements to keep up with new trends and other factors that influence your industry.

Conduct Personal Business Responsibly

You are encouraged to conduct your personal business affairs, so they reflect positively on you, your employer and your profession. You must not conduct any personal financial or business dealings that might result in any real or apparent conflict of interests. As such, you should avoid personal financial dealings with clients, including borrowing from or lending money to a client.

Uphold Professionalism in All Activities

You are encouraged to conduct yourself responsibly and with decorum in all other publicly visible activities in which you participate, such as politics, social organizations or public speaking. Your personal activities should reflect positively on you, as a professional.

What is the CIWM Advisory Council?

The CIWM Advisory Council’s mandate is to shape and promote the CIWM designation (and the interests of the CIWM community) to the financial services industry and the investing public. The Council ensures the continued elevation of the CIWM designation, improves protection to the public who rely on the knowledge and competence of CIWMs, and acts as key ambassadors to and mentors within the financial services community.

The Council consists of 1 CSI representative and 12 volunteers from across Canada who are CIWMs or other CSI designation holders in good standing. Members sit on the Council for a 2-year term, with the potential to renew.

What are the Responsibilities of the CIWM Advisory Council?

The Council oversees the CIWM and ensures that it, and its holders, continually meet unparalleled educational, ethical and professional standards. Key functions of the Council include:

  • Participating in setting annual objectives for the Council based on the needs of CIWM stakeholders, the investing public and the industry.
  • Helping to establish and implement CIWM awareness campaigns and events.
  • Contributing to the CIWM community to promote awareness of the pinnacle credential (e.g., writing articles, being profiled, submitting testimonials, etc.).
  • Serving on related committees where appropriate (e.g., Ethics Committee).

What is the CSI Designation Ethics Committee?

The CSI Ethics Committee was established to ensure any complaints against CSI designation holders are heard promptly and fairly. The Committee considers any alleged violation of the Code of Ethics and determines whether there has been a breach.

  • A CSI Case Co-ordinator (normally a CSI employee) provides each member of the Committee with a copy of the case file.
  • At the Committee meeting, the CSI Case coordinator presents the case and answers any questions.
  • If the Committee determines that the case qualifies as a breach, the Committee determines the appropriate penalty.


Allegations of violation of the CIWM Code of Ethics are dealt with by the Designation Ethics Committee according to the CSI Ethical Misconduct Process. If the Committee determines a violation occurred, a disciplinary sanction is recommended. The CIWM holder may accept the recommended sanction or request a hearing. Disciplinary sanctions could include:

  • A written reprimand from CSI and/or the Chair of the CIWM Advisory Council
  • Notifying the appropriate regulatory body for possible further investigation
  • Publicizing the violation on the CIWM public website and/or newsletter
  • Recording the violation in the CIWM designation holder’s record
  • Requiring the CIWM to complete a supplementary ethics course(s)
  • Requiring the CIWM to complete an additional professional development course(s)
  • Suspending the CIWM’s licence and use of the CIWM Certification Mark (for a specific period, indefinitely with conditions for reinstatement, or permanently)
  • Notify the holder’s employer and/or professional or designation granting organization of the violation
  • Imposing other measures deemed appropriate by the Designation Ethics Committee

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