TICE – Turkish Integrity Center of Excellence

A Shortfall at Ajax Inc.

What Are the Relevant Facts?

1. Carol, the assistant treasurer for a medium-sized manufacturing company, is responsible for monitoring the performance of three fixed-income managers of her company’s pension plan. She also recommends how new pension monies are allocated to the three fixed-income managers.
2. Carol has been invited by SNB, one of the fixed-income managers, to attend the annual conference for their best clients.
3. SNB will pay for all of Carol’s expenses except airfare.
4. Carol’s boss, Mary Ann (the treasurer), had previously attended SNB’s conferences.
5. The conference meets each day in a resort area until 10:30 a.m. and after 4:30 p.m.
6. Carol will travel on Wednesday morning and return on Sunday.
7. The other two fixed-income managers have shorter, smaller conferences in New York City.
8. Carol expects to gain significant information that will help her to do her job more effectively.

What Are the Ethical Issues?

1. Is there an appearance of a conflict of interest?
2. Would Carol’s attendance at the SNB conference constitute a conflict of interest?
3. Would a decision by Carol not to attend the conference bring into question the propriety of her boss’s trips to previous SNB conferences?
4. Who Are the Primary Stakeholders?

What Are the Possible Alternatives?

1. Attend the conference.

2. Attend the conference but have her own company pay all of the expenses.

3. Discuss the conflict of interest with her boss, Mary Ann.

4. Refrain from attending the conference.

What Are the Ethics of the Alternatives?

What Are the Practical Constraints?

1. If Carol raises this decision with her boss, Mary Ann, is Carol jeopardizing her own job?

What Actions Should Be Taken?

1. Should Carol attend this conference?

2. Which ethical theories have the greatest influence on your decision?