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Guidance for CIMA members and registered students

Your professional behaviour and adherence to the CIMA code of ethics is the best way to ensure that you do not have allegations of misconduct made against you. However, if things do go wrong you should make yourself aware of the process and seek further information from us if anything is unclear.

A complaint against a CIMA member or registered student can only be taken forward if it is genuinely a complaint of misconduct. There is guidance on the meaning of misconduct and what CIMA can investigate for potential complainants.

Prior to any complaint being lodged with CIMA, potential complainants are sent information about the scope of CIMA’s conduct processes to help them to decide whether theirs is an instance of genuine misconduct. They are also provided with a notification of complaint form on which they are asked to set out details of the allegation and to support the allegation with relevant evidence.

All allegations of misconduct are treated in the same impartial manner by CIMA. CIMA remains impartial throughout the entire conduct process. Conduct committees have a majority of members from a non-CIMA background and members are recruited and appointed by an external process.

The committees have access to legal and procedural advice.

I have been accused of misconduct – what happens next?

There are processes in place to ensure that the allegation is within the scope of the CIMA conduct processes – ie that it relates to genuine misconduct – that you have breached the laws of the Institute or that your professional behaviour falls short of the standards expected.

You should read Information-for-respondents (PDF 167 KB) but the following is a brief description of the process.

When you receive notification of a complaint against you, you will be given a summary of the complaint along with copies of any evidence that has been provided by the complainant to support the allegation. You will be invited to respond to the allegation (in writing) and provide evidence of your own in rebuttal. This is then submitted to the investigation committee to enable it to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a prima facie case.

The investigation committee meets in private without calling witnesses. The committee considers only the complaint, your response and the evidence submitted by both parties. The committee may find that there is no prima facie case to answer but if they determine that there is prima facie case they may offer you an opportunity to admit to the allegation and to accept a sanction (this is known as a consent order). You may at this stage decide to reject the consent order and your case will then be referred for a disciplinary hearing.

The committee can also determine that there be no further action, that the case be referred directly to a disciplinary hearing or (in serious cases) refer the allegation to CIMA’s regulator – the Financial Reporting Council.

If you are invited to a disciplinary hearing you may bring a legal adviser with you. Witnesses may be called. Whereas the investigation committee may offer a sanction, sanctions are imposed at disciplinary committee stage. There is full information on the dedicated page about sanctions.

If you wish to appeal there is full information contained within the conduct process section.