Navigating Ethical Dilemmas in Financial Management at Stuart & Co.

Categories: Business


Philip Anderson is the Phoenix branch manager of Stuart & Co, which is a leading brokerage company in US. Philip is an experienced and talented manager in this industry especially in financial matters. Philip has start his career in the sales area right after he finished studying as an inside salesman for a cereal producer. After about two years working as an inside salesman, he switched to the brokerage companies because of the direct contact with customers and higher income.

It is already thirty years he has working in the brokerage industry and he has been working in Stuart & co for 21 years. He is a hardworking, loyal, good manager and an ethical businessman. Philip was almost 54 years old and he was the sole provider for his family. His wife is already retired a year before from her teaching job to take care of their three teenage sons. Although he likes working with his team and working as a manager, he is facing an ethical dilemma from his work.

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While working at the brokerage business, instead of meeting clients' financial needs, Philip was being paid to sell products and services only. However, Stuart & Co. seemed to be different. As a professional brokerage company, Stuart & Co.'s primary objective is to obtain more profits. Stuart & Co. have a good company mission. Its main strategy is to emphasize the development of long-term client relationships based upon rendering expert independent financial advice and its investment advisors were to be trusted councilors to client on all financial matters.

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However, things had changed since he joined Stuart & Co. After the expansion of investment and analysis units, it has changed to meet certain products sales targets to be incorporate into their annual sales budgets. It created ethical dilemma to Philip and the employees, when the objective and culture of the company has changed. They risked the many longterm relationships with clients that he has been worked so hard to develop. He felt that pursuing some of the new budget goals could result in future financial losses for some of their clients.

Besides, Philip felt that it could result in the future financial losses for some of his clients, if they are pursuing some of the new budget goals. However, it may be dangerous to openly express those concerns to his boss. After the company's objective has changed, they confused whether to focus on their client's need or to focus on corporate target and they never achieved their company sales target. Even though his branch was one of the largest on the firm in terms of clients, sales volume, and net profit, but his annual bonus was lagged behind those of other managers at Stuart & Co. He felt that it was unfair to him in his current situation.

Philip had many questions and doubt because he had faced many problems while working at Stuart & Co. He worries that his failure to meet specific product sales targets that has been given to him. In the same time, Philip worry about his family because he was the sole provider for his family.


Based on the case, Philip Anderson as the Phoenix branch manager of Stuart & Co, and his team failed to achieve the targets of the specific product sales on the sales budget. They have been failed to increase the insurance product offerings and mutual funds. Other than that, they also unsuccessful to achieve the level goals of equity issues syndicated or the underwritten by their parent firm and their overall balance of the margin account not rise on the target. The problem that Philip Anderson and his team are facing on is they fail to meet the specific target that given by his branch, although the margin account, the number of new client and overall branch revenue have been increase.

According on the case, he confuse on his right weather he has to allow his clients' financial goals to take the precedence over his own family's financial security. It is because he had a responsibility for his own family, which he is a sole provider of his family since his wife have been retired, he had just recently bought a home in an exclusive neighbourhood of Scottsdale and he also have been buy a brand new red Corvette for himself to fulfilled a college dream. But, at the same time he has to meet the clients' needs with the little regard for corporate targets.

To consider the decision he have to make, he very concern if his action will be unreasonable, na?ve or impractical. It is because he thinks that his action will give a big impact or risk either to his family or his company. So, he think there must be another way that he can do or somewhere that a proper balance to solve his problem.

Besides that, he has to think that if his action or decision is too ethical when his family's future should be his primary concern. He as an ethical businessman confuse because he knows that he has to priories his responsibility on his job, but as a father or sole provider of his family, they also his primary concern. So, he has to consider on the various perspectives which call win-win situation that most important thing will give a good impact to the other group of people too.

On the other side, he considers maybe it is time for him to find another employer, which he can share his philosophy if one existed in the brokerage industry. It is because he felt that the changes of specific product to be in-corporate into their sales budget had compromised his ability to deliver investment options that suited to his clients' financial situations. But he knew that it will give a bad impact which it is very dangerous to openly express those concerns to his boss, which they maybe will have to face the future financial losses for some of his clients if he pursues some of the new budget. This situation makes him troubled the scandals in the industry that object them the low level employees as the criminal prosecution.

After considering all the situation that he have been facing, he thinks that if he resign from his company on his age now, either he able to find another good job or not. It is because so many young managers out there that might be competes him on getting the job that he wants to be. From the case, prove that he is an experience employee in the brokerage industry and with Stuart & Co. But, the jobs he wants to apply maybe consider on the age of new employee and based on the financial of the company can pay to their worker.

Moreover, he thinks that if he can even bother the situation that he and his team are facing on, because their job is only to develop and nurture profitable relationship with as many clients as possible and the specific products and services that sold to the clients which it should be dictated by the clients' needs. If they do the compromised over than their ability, Philip may bring himself to push his team to adhere to the firm directives, which that can give a negative impact to his total compensation that happen in the last few years.

Then, he has been consider giving his job to some of younger manager to champion the cause of service to clients and continue the battle, since he had done his part based on his job requirements. He thinks that the younger manager maybe has a fresh or new idea how to face this situation, although he is an experience person on that job.

To conclude, Philip Anderson has to consider on several perspectives before he has to make an important decision. The problem that he facing on is either he has to consider his family or company or he can to make the win-win situation that can give a good impact of those two groups. Other than that, he also facing on the problem about he and his team only have to fulfil the requirement job on only the clients' needs or they have to do what their boss ask them to do. Lastly, he confuse that either he give the younger manager his job, but he concern about himself too because he think that it will be difficult to find another good job on his age.

Alternative 1: Philip should not quit from Stuart & Co.

One of the alternatives is Philip should stay to work at Stuart Co. due to the several reasons. First and foremost, he is right in allowing his client's financial goals to take precedence over his own family's financial security. As referring to the case, Philip was following the CFA Standards of Professional Conduct towards his clients. It is under the duties to client that are loyalty, prudence and care (Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, 2014). Secondly, he is such as good manager, hardworking and ethical businessman. He has gained the clients' trusts as he has been in the brokerage firm for a long time and well experienced. He has been working with Stuart & Co. for 21 years and being in a brokerage industry for 30 years. Thus, it will be such a waste if he leaves his position. Next, he also will be able to balance with his family's financial security. When he able to meet the clients' financial goal, he will be more trusted by the client and gained more client.  As the result, he may be given a rewards or bonuses by his company for his achievement. In short, he should not be bothered because as he achieves his client's goals, he should not worry about his family's financial security. Last but not least, Philip is a sole provider for his family and almost 54 years old. If he decides to quit, he may having a hard time to find a new job at his age. There is a study which proves that as we get older, it will be hard for us to find a job. Also, the percentage of younger applicant get a call back from the company is higher than the older applicant (Neumark, Burn, & Button, 2017).

There are few things that Philip can do in order to get a bonuses and rewards if he stays in Stuart & Co. company. Firstly, Philip should motivate his employees or team to be more productive, effective and efficient. Danish & Usman(2010) state that motivation is the driving forces that encourage doing our works and tasks. Based on the case, the Top-Down approach management style is used by Stuart & Co. However, this approach causes the employee lack of motivation. To overcome this situation, Philip can use the personal control approach to motivate his team to achieve goal of the company. For instance, he approaches his team and gives a direct supervision of operation and employee management to motivate them. Direct supervision is to ensure that the goal is communicated clearly and at the same time to give guidance and support to the team or employees.

Also, Philip should forget about his own goal as it can cause goal incongruence with the company's goal. According to Bradley, Folz, White, & Wise (2006), the goal incongruence can lead to conflicts between the members. If conflict happened, it may impact to the team work as well as the performance. In this case, Philip has different goals with the company where Philip wants to maximize the profit for Stuart & Co. and his client's returns. Meanwhile, the company is more prefer to establish the long term relationship in the interest of the company. Philip thinks that this situation is unfair and unethically but for the company, the only thing that mattered is achieving the sales target. Indeed, achieving the goal of the company is more important than the personal goal. Thus, as a manager, Philip should focus on the company's goal and lead his team to achieve the sales target. However, if Philip thinks that the sales target set too high or unrealistic, he has a right to speak and to be heard by the company because Philip is someone who has knowledge about the financial matters. However, if the company refused to change the sales target, Philip need to work harder and find a way with his team to achieve the goals.

Lastly, Philip can also start to invest a portion of his salaries, rewards or bonuses to the company. By investing his money, it provides a side income to Philip in terms of dividend to support his family and to pay their house. As referring to the case, Philip's branch failed to achieve the target of sales. But, the overall revenue of the branch is increased. This shows that Stuart & Co has a good financial reputation. If Philip invests in this company, he will be able to enjoy a sum of dividend and he do not have to worry about his family's finance. So that, he can focus on the client's interest but still support his family.

Alternative 2: Philip should quit from Stuart & Co and find another job.

The second alternative is that Philip Anderson should find another job rather than stay in the Stuart & Co. The cost control system of the firm that demand the branch manager in pushing of some of the specific product into annual sales budget will lead to more focus on increasing the Stuart & Co. profitability rather than the highest return on firm's client. In other word, it's more to company interest than client interest. This cost control system of the Stuart & Co. will causes negative attitude, resistance and frustration of Philip Anderson and his team because it will compromise his ability to deliver investment that suited to his client financial situations, they risked their long term relationship with their client and in the other hand it's created ethical dilemma for him and his team. Besides, the finding stated that the absence of well-establish cost control system has caused failures to many company especially during current economic recession period. Therefore, the decision to leave the Stuart & Co. and find another job should be consider by Philip Anderson.

First, age does not has significant matter in applying job. Even though Phillip Anderson already 54 years old, his age does not make him having problem in finding another job. Based on finding which published in the American Psychology, found that older employee bring valuable skills to the job, such as higher "crystallized intelligence". Thus, these day firms are more interested in hiring and retain older worker since they have occupational knowledge, better understanding, skills, experience, adaptability and commitment compared with younger worker. However, its different with employee which is in labor field, as the employee getting old, they tend to be terminated by employer. According to the research, older employee in the labor field are less productivity in doing their job. Thus, the employer demanded younger worker which has full energy that can work productivity. Based on the case study, Phillip Anderson has the talent in financial matters and expert in interacting with client which is he already doing it for many years will make him one of the demanded worker by an entity. Therefore, it is not a problem for him to find another job. In addition, age does not matter in job recruitment, it does not matter whether he or she are older or younger employee because each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Moreover, finding another job helps him to overcome the ethical dilemma with his client because if he continue to follow the cost control system by Stuart & Co., it could result financial losses to his client in the future. Besides, he can manage his family's financial situation as he will have a new job. However, off course there will be pros and cons if Philip Anderson leave the company and find another job. Even he will not go through the situation of the cost control system of Stuart & Co, but it is not means that he will not face the same problem when he had find another job later. Thus, everyone will face the problem and cannot run before solved it. Next, new workplace and teammate in his new job, it is not that easy to adapt with the situation. Sometimes problems also rise from the people on workplace. Besides, if Philip Anderson leave the company, he will have to let go his clients that he has been working so hard on it. Thus, this is not that best decision to make since he has to think that kind of problems if he change his job.

Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Navigating Ethical Dilemmas in Financial Management at Stuart & Co.. (2019, Nov 16). Retrieved from

Navigating Ethical Dilemmas in Financial Management at Stuart & Co. essay
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