TREATING CLIENTS FAIRLY POLICY STATEMENT
The FSP has appointed a TCF Champion as part of its commitment to treat its clients fairly. The appointment of the TCF Champion is confirmed in Annexure C hereto.
The TCF Champion is actively involved with embedding TCF principles into the organisation and instilling a culture where the fair treatment of clients is embraced and adopted. The TCF Champion will assist the governing body of the organisation to implement and adopt business processes aimed at ensuring that the organisation is at all times achieving the outcomes of TCF.
The TCF Champion has the authority to approach and speak to staff members at all levels about the delivery and achievement of TCF outcomes.
The TCF Champion need not have any specific qualifications but must have a thorough knowledge of the organisation’s functional departments, business processes and the principles associated with treating clients fairly.
THE SIX TCF OUTCOMES
Clients are confident that they are dealing with firms where the fair treatment of clients is central to the firm culture.
It is our committed objective to ensure that all our clients or potential clients can be confident that they are dealing with an FSP where the fair treatment of clients is central to the corporate culture.
We use our best efforts to ensure that at all times we, our staff members and representatives render financial services honestly, fairly, with due skill, care and diligence, and in the interests of clients and the integrity of the financial services industry.
Delivery of the TCF outcomes is a core feature of the FSP’s stated values, code of conduct and ethics policy.
PROCEDURES IMPLEMENTED IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE POLICY OBJECTIVES
- TCF is a standing item on the governing body of the FSP’s meeting agenda where the FSP’s approach to TCF is analysed and discussed.
- Senior management has adopted TCF deliverables and have been allocated specific responsibilities in terms thereof. Senior management in all areas of the FSP that contribute to the rendering of financial services to clients (whether directly or indirectly), understand their respective roles in delivering TCF outcomes to those clients.
- Senior management conducts regular reviews of the main business processes with a view to identifying areas that do, or may, require improved TCF deliverables. Explicit allowance has been made to allow for and consider TCF implications and deliverables during the strategic planning process of any new strategy or change in existing strategy.
- Adherence to the TCF deliverables is monitored as part of our Compliance Monitoring Programme. We ensure on a monthly/ quarterly/ bi-annual basis that accurate, meaningful and timely Management Information has been produced during the period and that senior management acts accordingly. Existing tests within our Compliance Monitoring Programme aid us in demonstrating our level of compliance and adherence to the TCF outcomes. Where there are TCF action points, these will be documented and carried over to a further (minuted) meeting.
- All requests by the FSP’s governing body for the approval of product and service innovations or project expenditure include due consideration of the possible impact it may have on TCF outcomes.
- The organisation has established accessible forums or structures through which staff members and management are able to debate TCF related matters and refer any TCF questions or concerns.
GOVERNANCE AND CONTROLS
- Oversight and monitoring of TCF delivery has been explicitly assigned to the governance and control structures of the organisation tasked with risk management and the compliance function.
- Procedures have been implemented to ensure formal and regular reporting to the governing body and senior management on the progress in achieving TCF deliverables across all of the organisation’s activities and functional departments.
- The management of TCF and market conduct risks are formally included in the risk management framework of the organisation and are regularly monitored and supervised by the Compliance Officer.
- Procedures have been implemented for identifying and reporting (at organisation-wide level) TCF risks or failures to senior management and the governing body.
- There is ongoing evaluation of whether the organisation’s governance framework as a whole has been effective in achieving TCF outcomes.
- We have mechanisms in place to monitor and respond to changes in the broader environment such as economic and regulatory developments to enable us to proactively identify TCF related risks.
- All staff members (including senior management) whose roles require delivery of TCF outcomes have been identified.
- Performance evaluation criteria incorporate TCF objectives and are rigorously applied at all levels.
- Staff members undergo training on TCF principles and deliverables.
- Recruitment processes have been revised to ensure staff in relevant positions will have the necessary skills to achieve the outcomes of TCF.
- All staff members are aware of the requirement to treat clients fairly. This Policy has been circulated to all staff members and staff members are encouraged to make suggestions to our TCF Champion on how the treatment of our clients might be further enhanced.
- Remuneration is meaningfully linked to the achievement of TCF objectives, at all levels and all reward and recognition processes have been revised in the light of TCF objectives.
- Employment and service agreements have been amended and updated to permit the imposition of meaningful consequences (such as retraining, re-assignment or disciplinary action, as appropriate) for staff members or management who do not achieve agreed TCF deliverables.
MANAGEMENT INFORMATION (MI)
- Existing MI measures have been reviewed to determine which are useful for TCF monitoring and new measures have been identified where necessary (See Annexure B).
- Processes are in place to collate and summarise TCF related MI in such a way as to present a meaningful picture of organisation-wide TCF progress.
- Processes are in place to analyse and act on MI findings to improve TCF outcomes for our clients.
- We analyse and act on MI findings to identify staff training needs and to align performance management measures.
- We communicate transparently with our stakeholders (including the Regulator) on our progress in achieving TCF outcomes.
- We make information regarding our progress in achieving TCF outcomes publicly available.
Products and services marketed and sold in the retail market are designed to meet the needs of identified client groups and are targeted accordingly.
We develop and provide advice and certain intermediary services on products that fall within the categories and sub-categories of the financial products listed in Annexure A.
Our clients can typically be grouped into three broad categories:
- Low sophistication: Relatively inexperienced groups with a high level of dependence.
- Moderate sophistication: General client groups falling into the mass market.
- High sophistication: Investment groups who have expertise
Our product approval and product selection processes includes senior management confirmation that a product adequately meets the outcomes of TCF and that any such product will perform as clients are led to expect.
Our product approval and product selection processes also include the careful consideration of the elements listed below:
- When designing a product or selecting a product to distribute or to administer, we identify the particular client groups for which the product can be considered suitable.
- We obtain information from the product supplier regarding client groups in respect of which the product is regarded as most suitable.
- We provide our staff members and representatives with information and guidance to determine the client group/s in respect of whom the products are best suited.
- In determining whether our distribution and administration methods are suitable for the product and target market, we take into account all known and foreseeable risks associated with the product.
- We have measures in place to identify and mitigate risks that a product or service may pose to particular client groups.
- When approving or selecting any product for distribution:
- we assess the suitability of any promotional or other material that has been designed for the identified client group
- we assess the suitability of any related and optional (bundled and “add-on”) products or services for the identified client group
- Moreover, should any product be selected that includes bundled or “add-on” products or services, we confirm that there are processes in place to ensure the fair treatment of clients or members with regard to such bundled and “add-on” products or services, including ensuring that these products or services are appropriately targeted to the needs of client groups for which they are provided.
- We have measures in place to evaluate the client groups’ financial understanding of products or services offered or provided to them.
- We track sales to determine whether products are in fact sold to the identified client groups.
- We have processes in place to mitigate risks where it becomes apparent that the product or the distribution or the administration method, or any combination of these elements, was not suitable for the identified client group, or that the product has been distributed to inappropriate client target groups.
Clients are provided with clear information and are kept appropriately informed before, during and after the point of sale.
- We assess the clarity, appropriateness and fairness of product information provided to clients, whether such information is produced by ourselves or by others and all product related information requires sign-off by senior management.
- Before any product information is issued, it is carefully tested to ensure that the content will be clear and understandable by the target audience and client group.
- We have implemented appropriate risk mitigation procedures that are designed to address any inaccurate, unfair or misleading information about our products or services that may be provided to clients by third parties.
- We have implemented appropriate procedures to ensure that any information we provide regarding any other party’s products or services is accurate, clear, and fair and is not misleading.
- We have implemented appropriate procedures to ensure that we are able, as far as reasonably possible, to rectify any situation where it becomes apparent that any product information already in circulation (whether produced by the FSP or not) is inaccurate, unclear, or unfair or is misleading.
- We regularly review standardised product information we use (whether produced by the FSP or not) to ensure that it remains accurate, clear and appropriate to the applicable client groups.
- We monitor and act on feedback, complaints and suggestions received from clients, staff members or any other parties that communicate the need for improvement in product information.
- We have a process in place to ensure relevant and adequate product information is provided to our clients, whether by our own staff members / representatives or by other parties, at an appropriate time to enable them to make an informed decision as to whether to enter into the relevant contract.
- We provide all existing clients with written statements at least once a year that identify any financial products that have been acquired by that client and where such products are still in existence. Such statements provide brief current details (where applicable), of:
- any ongoing monetary obligations of the client in respect of such products;
- the main benefits provided by the products;
- where any product was marketed or positioned as an investment or as having an investment component, the value of the investment and the amount of such value which is accessible to the client; and
- any ongoing incentives, consideration, commission, fee or brokerage payable to ourselves in respect of such products.
- A documented Record of Advice as provided for in section 9 of the General Code of Conduct (Board Notice 80 of 2003 as amended) is maintained for each and every transaction entered into with any client and a copy of the applicable record of advice is handed to each client upon completion of the transaction.
- We ensure that clients are informed of any recent or pending changes to our products, contractual events or any actions required from them, and that such information is provided in sufficient time to enable any client to reasonably respond to or act on that information.
- To the extent applicable, we control the accuracy and quality of any once-off or non-standard product information provided by staff members or representatives to clients or potential clients.
- We maintain up-to-date contact details of all our existing clients.
- We ensure that clients have current and accessible contact points if they need product or service information or need to get in contact with our functional departments for any reason.
- We have accurate, retrievable, secure records of all product information we have provided to clients and any other material interactions with clients.
Where clients receive advice, the advice is suitable and takes account of their circumstances.
- Prior to making any decision to market a particular product, we assess whether or not we have the appropriate skills and business processes in place to render the appropriate financial service and that the particular product will be suitable for the target market and client concerned.
- Prior to contracting with any product supplier to market their products, we conduct an appropriate level of due diligence to satisfy ourselves that their products and service levels are likely to meet our clients’ reasonable expectations.
- We insist that product suppliers provide our representatives with adequate training on the specific products we market to enable them to render suitable financial services on those products.
- We have controls in place to prevent our representatives from rendering any financial services to any client in respect of products for which adequate product training has not been provided.
- Prior to contracting with any product supplier to market their products, we make appropriate arrangements to ensure that the FSP and our representatives will have reasonable access to any product information required from the product supplier to enable all parties to render suitable and appropriate financial services to clients and potential clients.
- We have implemented procedures that ensure that all representatives, prior to providing advice to a client:
- take reasonable steps to seek from the client appropriate and available information regarding the client’s financial situation, financial product experience and objectives to enable the provider to provide the client with appropriate advice;
- conduct an analysis, for purposes of the advice, based on the information obtained;
- identify the financial product or products that will be appropriate to the client’s risk profile and financial needs, subject to the limitations imposed on the provider under the FAIS Act or any contractual arrangement;
- take reasonable steps to establish whether the financial product identified is wholly or partially a replacement for an existing financial product of the client and if it is such a replacement, follows all the required disclosure procedures; and
- take reasonable steps to ensure that the client understands the advice and that the client is in a position to make an informed decision.
- In order to ensure that the highest level of financial services are rendered to our clients and potential clients, we identify any risk of inappropriate financial service and we monitor feedback or complaints received from clients, product suppliers or other third parties regarding the quality of financial service they may have received from our representatives.
- We have implemented procedures to identify instances where our representatives have provided inappropriate advice or misleading information to clients and have implemented further procedures that seek to mitigate the risk to clients should such events occur.
- We monitor potential TCF indicators such as insurance claims experience, product retention / early termination data, investment portfolio switching, type and frequency of product changes in relation to the clients associated with our representatives, in order to identify and mitigate risks of any inappropriate financial services or poor client outcomes attributable to the representatives concerned.
- We provide product suppliers and other third parties in the client value chain with feedback in relation to any aspects of their products or services which inhibit our ability to provide suitable advice or the delivery of other TCF outcomes to clients.
- We have controls in place to identify and address any conflicts of interest between ourselves, our clients and product suppliers whose products we market.
- Clear TCF measures are included in the criteria that our representatives are required to satisfy in order to meet incentive or remuneration targets.
- There are clear agreements between ourselves and any product suppliers whose products we market that set out our respective responsibilities in relation to providing clients with appropriate financial services, information and service support. These agreements are structured to ensure that clients understand who they should look to in relation to different aspects of the financial products or service provided to them.
- We have controls in place to identify and act on instances where our representatives have provided advice which they are not authorised to provide, either in terms of their specific contract or mandate with us and/or with any product supplier, or as a result of non-compliance with our FAIS licence conditions or other legal requirements.
- We have a policy in place for fair compensation of clients who have been financially prejudiced as a result of any inappropriate financial service rendered by our representatives.
- We monitor the published decisions of the FAIS Ombud, communications from the Regulator and any other relevant information sources in relation to advice practices, to ensure that our controls and practices in relation to this TCF outcome remain relevant and effective.
Clients are provided with products that perform as the firm has led them to expect, and the associated service is of an acceptable standard and as they have been led to expect.
- Processes are in place to mitigate the risk that products and services are unable to satisfy the reasonable expectations of clients.
- We analyse the product retention / portfolio switching / early termination behaviour of our clients to identify the possible risk that products or services are not meeting expectations.
- Processes are in place to alert clients to the risks resultant from their actions (such as early termination of a product, non-payment of contributions, investment portfolio switches, and benefit reductions) in reasonable time for them to respond to or act on the information.
- Processes are in place to alert clients to the risks of non-action on their part, such as a failure to review insurance cover needs, investment goals, risk profiles and beneficiary nominations.
- We have clear service standards in place for client service processes and communicate these to our clients.
- We research and test our service standards to determine whether they are in line with client expectations.
- We monitor and act on feedback, complaints and suggestions received from clients, intermediaries and staff members that identify the need for improvements in our services or service standards.
- Where it becomes apparent that products are not performing or are unlikely to perform as clients have been led to expect, we have implemented processes to mitigate the risks to our clients.
- We have adopted “Management Information” on client expectations (See Annexure B).
- Processes are in place to protect the confidentiality of all client information.
The procedures listed below are for third parties such as product suppliers, Category II, IIA or III FSPs, binder holders, reinsurers, administrators and other outsourced service providers that are part of the overall value chain in providing products or services to our clients. These procedures do not apply to the relationship between product suppliers and Category I FSPs.
- We have clear agreements in place regarding the division of responsibilities between the various parties to ensure the fair treatment of clients.
- We conduct an appropriate level of due diligence on any such third party, before dealing with them, to satisfy ourselves that TCF outcomes are adhered to and that the products and / or service levels, as the case may be, are likely to be as clients (and we) have been led to expect.
- We regularly monitor the third party’s client treatment standards, including how the third party meets client expectations.
- Processes are in place to mitigate the risks to our clients where it becomes apparent that a third party’s products are not in fact performing as clients (and we) have been led to expect by that third party or where it becomes apparent that service from the third party is not of an acceptable or agreed upon standard.
- We have full and unrestricted access to information held by the third party in relation to our clients’ Management Information.
Clients do not face unreasonable post-sale barriers imposed by firms to change product, switch provider, submit a claim or make a complaint.
- We inform our clients (in good time, not only on request) of the types of permissible changes they may make to their products if their individual needs or circumstances change and of any important limitations on their ability to access funds or to make amendments to any product.
- When we become aware of any changes to a client’s needs or circumstances (including affordability difficulties), we inform such client of possible product changes that are available to them in order to meet their changed requirements.
- We have clear service standards in place for processing product changes (including instances where the request needs to be referred to another party for processing) and communicate these standards to our clients.
- Where a request for a product change is declined by any party in the value chain, we provide the client with clear reasons for the decision.
- When we receive a request to change a product (whether directly or through another party) we inform the client of any potential risks associated with the change, in reasonable time for them to respond to or act on the information.
- We have clear service standards in place for processing switches to other providers and communicate these to our clients.
- When we receive a request to switch providers (whether directly or through another party) we inform the client of any potential risks associated with the switch.
CLAIMS AND DISBURSEMENT HANDLING (BINDER HOLDERS: LONG-TERM AND SHORT-TERM INSURANCE ONLY)
- We test our claims and/or disbursement handling processes to ensure that it is suitable for the product and target client group concerned.
- We inform our clients (not only on request or at claim stage) of the process that must be followed in order to submit a claim or a disbursement request and what information will be required in order to to process a claim or a disbursement request.
- We inform our clients of our service standards when processing claims and disbursement requests.
- We inform clients prior to contracting, of the circumstances under which claims or disbursement requests will not be processed and explain the client’s obligations in this regard.
- Once a claim has been received, we keep clients/members informed of our progress.
- Where a claim is repudiated, wholly or partially, or a disbursement request is declined, we provide the client/member clear reasons for the decision, with supporting evidence, where relevant, and the steps available to the client in order to review the decision (if any).
- We consider the client’s reasonable benefit expectations and our TCF objectives before making a decision to repudiate / decline a claim or disbursement request.
- We have specific training in place for claims and disbursement processing staff (including on TCF).
- We consider the claims repudiation experience and quality of claims handling of different insurers when recommending an insurer to clients.
- We analyse types of claims and claims repudiation experience of our different representatives to identify any risk of mis-selling.
- We test our complaints process to ensure it is accessible and appropriate to our client group/s.
- We have a robust complaints management, record keeping and root cause analysis process.
- We inform clients (before complaint stage) of the process that must be followed in order to submit a complaint and of the various options available for further recourse if the client is dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaint.
- We benchmark our complaints data (for example, complaint volumes, resolution rates, referrals to Ombud schemes) against competitors.
- Once a complaint has been received, whether we are dealing with the complaint ourselves or where we have referred the complaint to another party, we keep clients informed of its progress (including the contact details of the person responsible for processing the complaint)
- When responding to a complaint, we provide clear reasons for our response (including where the response is favourable to the client), with supporting evidence where relevant.
- Where a request for redress is declined, wholly or partially, we inform the client of the steps that may be followed in order to have the decision reviewed.
- We have clear service standards in place for processing complaints and we communicate such standards to our clients.
- We have specific staff training in place for complaints handling
- Complaints processes are structured in such a way as to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest and that all decisions are based on objective facts and criteria.
- Complaints processes are structured in such a way as to ensure that complaints of a similar nature have a similar outcome.
- Follow-up processes are in place to determine the client satisfaction levels of complaints that have been finalised.
- Processes are in place to ensure consistency in complaints handling. We have a policy in place for fair compensation of clients who have been financially prejudiced by unfair treatment, which is not limited only to those clients who complain.
- We analyse complaints to identify any risks of mis-selling (whether by our own representatives or not).
- We consider the nature of complaints received and the complaints handling performance history of different product suppliers when deciding on whether or not to enter into a business relationship with a particular product supplier
- We consider the nature of complaints received and the complaints handling performance history of different product suppliers when recommending a particular product supplier or financial product to our clients.