Code of Conduct for the Members of the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund
Formally adopted by the Executive Board on July 14, 2000, revised on December 12, 2003 and August 1, 2012.
1. Executive Directors of the Fund are entrusted by the member countries that have selected them with responsibilities for ensuring that the Fund carries out the mandate prescribed in its Articles of Agreement. The office of Executive Director of the Fund requires personal and professional conduct that meets the highest standards. The Board of Governors has adopted certain resolutions with respect to the conduct of Executive Directors. In addition, Executive Directors have adopted the following Code of Conduct, which is intended to provide guidance on ethical standards in connection with, or having a bearing on, their status and responsibilities in the Fund.
2. The standards set out in this Code also apply to Alternate Executive Directors, Senior Advisors and Advisors to Executive Directors, who perform their functions under the authority of the Executive Director. Other persons who are designated as Temporary Alternates shall also be subject to the provisions of this Code on the same basis as Executive Directors. Except where otherwise provided, all references to Executive Directors in this Code shall include Alternates, Senior Advisors and Advisors.
3. With respect to assistants to Executive Directors, Executive Directors should apply, to the extent possible, the provisions of the Fund Staff Code of Conduct to assistants in their own offices. Executive Directors are responsible for considering any allegations of misconduct by Alternates, Senior Advisors, Advisors and assistants in their respective offices and should take such measures as are necessary and appropriate in the circumstances. Executive Directors are encouraged to consult with the Ethics Committee in considering such allegations.
Basic Standard of Conduct
4. Executive Directors should observe the highest standards of ethical conduct. In the performance of their duties, they are expected to carry out the mandate of the Fund to the best of their ability and judgment, and to maintain the highest standards of integrity. In their conduct outside the workplace, they should also ensure that they observe local laws so as not to be perceived as abusing the privileges and immunities conferred on the Fund and Executive Directors.
Conduct Within the Fund
5. Executive Directors should treat their colleagues and the staff with courtesy and respect, without harassment, physical or verbal abuse. With respect to harassment and discrimination, since the standards applicable to Fund staff represent the highest standards of ethical conduct in these areas, those standards shall also apply to Executive Directors.
6. Executive Directors should not allow personal relationships or considerations, including bias or favoritism, to influence the performance of their official duties and they should avoid situations that create a conflict of interest. Close personal relationships between a supervisor and a subordinate are likely to result in conflicts of interests, and members of the Board should be aware of these risks before entering into such relationships. Where such relationships do arise, the supervisor should seek guidance from the appropriate person (the Ethics Committee for Executive Directors, or the Executive Director for any other member of the office) in order to decide upon a course of action that will minimize the risk of actual or perceived conflicts of interest.
7. Executive Directors should exercise adequate control and supervision over matters for which they are individually responsible.
8. Executive Directors should ensure that Fund property and services are used by themselves and persons in their offices for official business only.
9. Any form of retaliation by an Executive Director against an Alternate Executive Director, Senior Advisor, Advisor or assistant to an Executive Director, or against any Fund staff member or other Fund employee, for using any of the channels available to report suspected misconduct or raise ethical concerns, or for participating as a witness in an ethics matter, is itself a form of misconduct under this Code.
Protection of Confidential Information
10. In line with the rules and guidelines of the Fund, Executive Directors have the responsibility to protect the security of any confidential information provided to, or generated by, the Fund.
11. When making public statements or speaking to the media on Fund-related matters, Executive Directors should make clear whether they are speaking in their own name or on behalf of the Executive Board.
Conflicts of Interest
12. In performing their duties, Executive Directors will carry out their responsibilities to the exclusion of any personal advantage.
13. Executive Directors should avoid any situation involving a conflict, or the appearance of a conflict, between their personal interests and the performance of their official duties. If such a conflict arises, Executive Directors should promptly inform the Ethics Committee and withdraw from participation in decision-making connected with the matter. If the conflict is potential rather than actual, Executive Directors should seek the advice of the Ethics Committee about whether they should recuse themselves from the situation that is creating the conflict or the appearance of conflict.
Personal Financial Affairs
14. Executive Directors should not use, or disclose to others, confidential information to which they have access, for purposes of carrying out private financial transactions. Because of the Fund's role in exchange rate surveillance, Executive Directors should not engage in short-term trading (i.e., a combination of buying and selling within six months) in gold, foreign currencies, and closely related financial instruments, for speculative purposes. For this purpose, the term "combination" does not include one-way transactions, such as the selling or buying of foreign exchange for household expenses, education or travel expenses.
For purposes of complying with these principles, Executive Directors should follow the guidance provided to the staff.
15. Executive Directors should make written disclosure to a compliance officer selected by the Executive Board of any financial or business interests of their own or their immediate family members. Until the extent and manner of this disclosure are determined by the Executive Board, the rules governing disclosure by the senior staff of the Fund shall apply. The compliance officer shall bring any unresolved concerns regarding a conflict of interest between an Executive Director's holdings and the performance of Fund duties to the attention of the Ethics Committee of the Board.
Gifts and entertainment
16. In regard to acceptance of favors, gifts and entertainment, Executive Directors should exercise tact and judgment to avoid the appearance of improper influence on the performance of their official duties. The ordinary courtesies of international business and diplomacy may be accepted, but substantial and unusual gifts, favors and entertainment, as well as loans and other services of significant monetary value, should not be accepted.
17. When negotiating for, or entering into an arrangement concerning, prospective employment outside the Fund, Executive Directors should not allow such circumstances to affect the performance of their duties. Where involvement in a Fund matter could be, or could be perceived as, benefitting the prospective employer, regardless of whether there is detriment to the Fund or their constituents, Executive Directors should recuse themselves.
18. Executive Directors who leave the Fund should not use or disclose confidential information known to them by reason of their service with the Fund, and should not contact Executive Directors or other Fund officials (other than through official channels) to obtain confidential information.
The Ethics Committee of the Executive Board
19. An Ethics Committee, comprised of five Executive Directors, shall be established by the Executive Board to consider matters relating to this Code. In addition, if requested to by Executive Directors, the Committee shall give guidance to them on ethical aspects of conduct, including the conduct of their Alternates, Senior Advisors, Advisors and assistants.
20. The Executive Board shall select a Chairperson, four members, and five alternate members from among Executive Directors. They shall be selected on the occasion of a general election of Executive Directors, and shall serve for two years. If the Chairperson, a member or an alternate member resigns, a new Chairperson, member or alternate member shall be selected by the Executive Board to complete the remainder of the term. The Committee shall issue a report summarizing its activities to the Executive Board at the end of each two-year term.
21. In the absence of the Chairperson, the Committee member who is the most senior Executive Director in the Board shall serve as acting Chairperson. In the event that a member of the Committee is not able to attend or serves as acting Chairperson, an alternate member shall serve in that member's place in order of seniority of Board membership. If the conduct of a member of the Committee is under consideration by the Committee, that member shall recuse himself/herself and be replaced as provided above.
22. The General Counsel of the Fund, or if absent his/her representative, shall be the permanent secretary of the Committee. The Ethics Committee may seek the views of the Fund's Ethics Officer ex officio on any matter with which it is dealing.
23. The meetings of the Ethics Committee shall be restricted to members only and the permanent secretary of the Committee except at the Committee's invitation.
24. The Ethics Committee shall consider any alleged misconduct by an Executive Director. Allegations of misconduct may include circumstances indicating that there may have been misconduct by an Executive Director, but a specific Executive Director has not been identified. In deciding whether to investigate a case of a possible breach of the obligation of Executive Directors to protect confidential information due to an apparent “leak” of such information, but where no specific Executive Director has been identified, the Ethics Committee shall take into account: (i) whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that the leak came from the Fund, and whether there is a possibility that it came from the Executive Board; (ii) the market sensitivity of the information in question; (iii) the seriousness of the implications for the Fund; and (iv) whether management has requested an investigation of the Fund staff with regard to the same potential breach.
25. Allegations of misconduct may be received by the Ethics Committee either directly or through other channels, including by the compliance officer concerning the disclosures made by Executive Directors under the financial disclosure program, or by the channels envisaged under the Fund’s Integrity Hotline program.1 The Ethics Committee shall, when it deems appropriate, request and supervise the conduct of an investigation by the Ethics Consultant Firm, in accordance with the attached Procedures for Ethics Investigations [Annex]. In cases where a particular Executive Director is identified at the outset or during an investigation, the Executive Director concerned shall, in all cases, be given the opportunity to present his/her views to the Committee.
26. If a majority of the Ethics Committee concludes that misconduct has been committed, and taking into account both the nature and seriousness of the misconduct and the Executive Director's prior record of conduct, the members of the Committee shall make recommendations to the Committee of the Whole of the Executive Board regarding whether a warning should be issued to an Executive Director, and whether such warning should be conveyed to the Governor(s) of the member country (or countries) that appointed, elected or designated the Executive Director. If a majority of the Ethics Committee concludes that no misconduct has been committed, the Executive Director concerned shall be so informed and no recommendation shall be made. When convened for this purpose, the Committee of the Whole shall be comprised exclusively of Executive Directors and shall have a quorum equal to one-half the number of Executive Directors.
27. Upon receiving the recommendations of the Ethics Committee, the Committee of the Whole shall consider which of the following actions to take: (i) no further action in the matter; (ii) issuance of a warning to the Executive Director; or (iii) issuance of a warning to the Executive Director and transmittal of the warning to the Governor(s) of the member country (or countries) that appointed, elected or designated the Executive Director. If there is no consensus in the Committee of the Whole as to which action to take, the matter shall be referred to the Executive Board for decision.
28. The Executive Director concerned shall, in all cases, have the opportunity to present his/her views to the Committee of the Whole, but shall not participate in the deliberations on the case.
Procedures for Persons in the Offices of Executive Directors
29. In those cases where the Ethics Committee becomes aware of possible misconduct by a person in the Office of an Executive Director (i.e., an Alternate, Senior Advisor, Advisor or assistant), the Ethics Committee shall bring such matter to the attention of the Executive Director in whose office the person works. The Executive Director concerned, bearing in mind the responsibility of Executive Directors to apply this Code and to exercise adequate control and supervision over matters for which they are individually responsible, shall decide how to proceed, including whether to request or approve of the initiation of an investigation by the Ethics Committee into the possible misconduct. With the Executive Director’s approval, the Ethics Committee shall request and supervise the conduct of an investigation by the Ethics Consultant Firm, in accordance with the attached Procedures for Ethics Investigations [Annex]. The person whose conduct is under investigation shall, in all cases, have the opportunity to present his/her views to the Ethics Committee and to the Executive Director.
30. Upon receipt of a written report from the Firm, the Executive Director concerned shall determine what action to take, bearing in mind the responsibility of Executive Directors to exercise adequate control and supervision over matters for which they are individually responsible, and to take such measures as are necessary and appropriate in considering allegations of misconduct involving persons in their offices.
Procedures to Be Followed by the Ethics Consultant Firm
Formally adopted by the Executive Board in January 2009, revised on August 1, 2012.
1. The Ethics Committee of the Executive Board has adopted the following procedures to be followed by the Ethics Consultant Firm (the “Firm”) in carrying out investigations into allegations of misconduct with respect to Executive Directors or with respect to other persons in the Offices of Executive Directors (i.e., Alternates, Senior Advisors, Advisors, and assistants).
2. The principal function of the Firm will be to carry out, at the request and under the supervision of the Ethics Committee, investigations into alleged misconduct on the part of Executive Directors or other persons in the Offices of Executive Directors. These investigations may be carried out in circumstances in which there may have been misconduct by an Executive Director or other person in an Executive Director’s office, whether or not a specific individual has been identified. The purpose of such investigations is to establish the facts and circumstances concerning alleged misconduct so that the Ethics Committee or an Executive Director, as the case may be, may determine whether misconduct has occurred and what, if any, further action is appropriate.
3. Investigations are to be carried out in a fair, impartial and timely manner that ensures balance and thoroughness, appropriate confidentiality, and freedom from reprisal, and also provides effective procedural safeguards for those against whom allegations are made. Adherence to these Procedures is an important element of ensuring that investigations are carried out in such a manner.
Conduct of the Investigation
4. At the request, and under the supervision, of the Ethics Committee, the Firm shall conduct an investigation into allegations of misconduct with respect to an Executive Director by gathering and reviewing evidence concerning the allegations, and interviewing possible witnesses or other persons who might be in a position to provide relevant information pertaining to these allegations.
5. All aspects of the investigations shall be conducted discreetly, with due regard for preserving the privacy of the person against whom allegations of misconduct have been made (the “respondent”). The Firm shall explain the extent to which, in its judgment, it may be necessary for it to divulge personal identifying information to others.
6. The Firm shall also interview the respondent. Before being interviewed, the respondent shall be informed in general terms that an investigation has started, the basis for the investigation, and the major elements of the case. Exceptions to notification in advance of the interview should be limited to circumstances in which such notification would seriously interfere with the investigation (e.g., when there is a risk of the destruction of evidence not otherwise obtainable or of intimidation of a potential witness) or possible danger to others (or to the respondent). The notification and information may be provided by written memorandum or e-mail or orally; if communicated orally, written confirmation should be provided promptly. In the event that the nature or scope of the investigation subsequently changes to a material degree, the respondent shall be promptly informed of the change in its scope.
7. When an individual is informed that an investigation of which he or she is the subject has started, the Firm shall also inform the individual that he or she may be accompanied to the interview(s) and assisted by an advisor of his or her choice, including an attorney, from either inside or outside the Fund.2
8. Consistent with the commitment of an Executive Director to cooperate to the fullest possible extent, and not to interfere3 or attempt to interfere, with ethics investigations, the Firm, when conducting an investigation, shall have direct access to all persons in the relevant Office(s) of Executive Director and to all records relevant to the investigation. If the respondent or a person in an Office of Executive Director refuses to cooperate, the Firm shall bring the matter to the attention of the Ethics Committee.
9. The Firm may also request access to Fund staff members, contractual employees, and vendor personnel and to all records relevant to the investigation that may exist within the Fund. Request for such access should be directed through the General Counsel.
10. The Firm shall apply standards of relevance with respect to the alleged misconduct when determining the nature and extent of the information requested of the respondent or other interviewee, and reasonableness with respect to the timeframe in which the information is to be provided and, subject to the exigencies of the investigation, the notice provided for interviews. If the respondent or other interviewees from whom such information is requested believes that the request is not relevant to the subject matter of the investigation or the time allowed for its production is not sufficient, he may refer the matter to the Ethics Committee.
11. At the request, and under the supervision, of the Ethics Committee, the Firm shall also conduct an investigation into allegations of misconduct with respect to persons in the Offices of Executive Directors, namely: (i) Alternates and Senior Advisors, and (ii) Advisors and Assistants.4 The Ethics Committee shall first seek approval of the concerned Executive Director to engage the Firm in conducting such an investigation.
12. The procedures to be followed by the Firm described in paragraphs 4-10 above shall be applied mutatis mutandis to the conduct of investigations in respect of persons in the Offices of Executive Directors.
Report of investigation
13. Upon completion of the investigation into an allegation or complaint of misconduct with respect to an Executive Director, the Firm shall prepare and submit a written report to the Ethics Committee, which shall consider whether further action is warranted. The Firm shall be available to the Committee to answer questions concerning the report or conduct such further inquiry as the Committee directs.
14. Upon completion of the investigation with respect to a person in the Office of an Executive Director, the Firm shall prepare and submit a written report to the Ethics Committee and to the concerned Executive Director. The concerned Executive Director shall determine what action to take bearing in mind the responsibility of Executive Directors set forth in the Code of Conduct to exercise adequate control and supervision over matters for which they are individually responsible. The Firm shall be available to the Ethics Committee and the Executive Director to answer questions concerning the report or conduct such further inquiry as the Ethics Committee or the Executive Director requests.
15. The reports identified in paragraphs 13 and 14 shall be balanced and fairly reflect the totality of the elements gathered during the investigation and contain the following:
- summary of the allegations of misconduct;
- the applicable rules and regulations or standard of conduct; and
- a description of the evidence concerning whether or not the alleged misconduct occurred, including the weight and sufficiency of such evidence.
1 Complaints against Board members received through the Hotline are sent to the Fund’s Ethics Advisor, who then transmits Board-related matters to the Chair of the Ethics Committee for resolution. www.integrity-helpline.com/imf.jsp
2 Members of the Legal Department may not assist respondents in accordance with this provision; members of the Human Resources Department (HRD) may do so only with the permission of the Director of HRD.
3 Non-cooperation or interference includes refusal to answer questions of the Firm or making knowingly false statements to the Firm during the course of the investigation; reprisal against the complainant or persons interviewed, either during or after an investigation; and any other conduct that materially hampers the Firm’s ability to conduct an investigation.
4 The provisions of the Code of Conduct for Executive Directors are applicable to Alternate Executive Directors, Senior Advisors, and Advisors. The provisions of the Fund Staff Code of Conduct apply to the extent possible, to Assistants in the offices of Executive Directors.