Association management firms holding membership in the AMC Institute (formerly International Association of Association Management Companies) pledge, as part of their membership obligation, to observe formal ethical and professional standards as permitted by laws.
The Code of Ethics and Professional Practice signifies AMC Institute members' commitment to maintain a high level of ethics, public service and professional conduct and to declare that, in return for the faith placed in them, they accept an obligation to conduct their business in a manner that will be beneficial to clients, potential clients, colleagues, members of allied professions and the public.
The code, which has evolved out of the experience of members since AMC Institute was incorporated in 1964, gives clients a basis for confidence that members will serve them in accordance with exemplary standards of competence, objectivity and integrity.
The Professional Obligation
The reliance of association leaders on the leadership and counsel of association management companies imposes on the industry an obligation to maintain high standards of integrity and competence. To this end, members of AMC Institute agree to:
- place the interests of clients and prospective clients ahead of their own
- maintain independence of thought and action
- hold affairs of the clients in strict confidence
- strive to improve the professional skills of their staffs
- observe and advance professional standards of association management
- uphold the honor and dignity of the industry
- accept from staff members no less than the highest standards of professional conduct
In recognition of the public interest and their obligation to the industry, AMC Institute members and their staffs have agreed to comply with the following articles:
Basic Responsibilities to Clients
We will place the interests of clients ahead of our own and serve them with integrity, competence and independence. We will assume an independent position with each client, making certain that advice to clients is based on impartial consideration of pertinent facts and responsible opinions.
We will guard as confidential all information concerning the affairs of clients that we gather during the course of professional engagements. We will not take personal, financial or other advantage of material or information coming to our attention as a result of our relationship with clients; nor will we provide the basis on which others might take such advantage.
We will not serve two or more competing clients, or clients in any known adversarial relationship, without their knowledge and consent. Under certain circumstances we recognize that an adversarial relationship may be such that service to a client is inappropriate and we would have to discontinue our relationship.
We will inform clients of any relationships, circumstances or interests that might influence our judgment of the objectivity of our services.
As members of AMC Institute we will share with our colleagues' innovations that contribute to the enhancement of association management company operations. We will not knowingly, without a client's permission, share data, procedures, materials or techniques that are the property of the client.
We will accept only those engagements we are qualified to undertake and which we believe will provide tangible benefits to clients. We will assign personnel qualified by knowledge, experience and character to provide effective service. A principal of the firm will be responsible for the firm's performance.
We will, before accepting an engagement, confer with the prospective client in sufficient detail and gather sufficient facts to gain an adequate understanding of the client's needs. The preliminary exploration will be conducted confidentially, on terms and conditions agreed upon by the member and the prospective client.
We will make certain that the client received a written proposal that outlines the objectives, scope and estimated fees or fee basis for proposed service. After a relationship with a client has been established, we will discuss with them any significant changes in the nature, scope, timing, fees or any modifications to the relationship before acting.
We will serve each client on an individual basis, maintaining each association's independence.
We will not serve a client under terms or conditions that might impair our objectivity, independence or integrity. We will reserve the right to withdraw from a relationship if conditions beyond our control develop to interfere with the successful conduct of the engagement.
Client Fees and Charges
Determination of fees requires consideration of many factors including the nature of the services performed; the time required; the management firm's experience, ability and reputation; the degree of responsibility assumed; and the benefits that accrue to the client. We will charge fees that are commensurate with these factors.
We will clearly set forth the nature and scope of all fees, charges, expenses and other costs to be charged to a client prior to accepting an engagement.
We will maintain client funds separately from our own and from those of other clients.
We will not incur fees, charges, expenses, other costs or financial commitments beyond the policies and budgets of our clients without their prior approval.
We will not accept commissions or rebates of any type on products or services purchased for our clients without informing them of our policy in advance.
The Industry Obligation
In order to promote the highest quality of performance in the operation of association management companies, AMC Institute member firms pledge to assume leadership responsibility for the enhancement of the independent investor-owned association management company industry.
Basic Responsibilities to Our Industry
We will strive to advance and protect the standards of the association management company industry. We will strive to improve our knowledge, skills and techniques, and will make available to our clients the benefits of our professional attainments.
We recognize our responsibilities to our clients, to the public interest and to our industry to contribute to the development and understanding of better ways to manage associations. By reasons of education, experience and broad contact with a variety of associations, management companies are especially qualified to recognize opportunities for improving the management of these groups and recognize an obligation to share knowledge with colleagues in the industry.
We will regularly evaluate the quality of the work done by our staff to assure consistent professional quality.
If we are approached by employees of a client's members or of other management firms regarding employment in our firm, or in that of a client, we will handle each incidence in a way which will be legally correct as well as equitable to all parties.
We will not solicit employees of a client's members for employment by us or by others, except with the consent of the client.
We will administer the internal and external affairs of our firm in the best interest of our industry.
We will not advertise our services in a manner that is derogatory to the dignity or integrity of our industry.
We will strive to broaden public understanding of the association management industry's role. By doing so, association management companies will inspire confidence and garner support, further establishing their important function in today's society.
We will conduct ourselves so as to reflect credit on the industry and to inspire the respect and trust of clients and the public. In the course of our practice we will strive to maintain a professional attitude toward those we serve, toward those who assist us in our practice, toward our peers and toward members of allied organizations.