This document sets out the Company’s policy, stance, and intentions with regard to the receipt and/or giving of gifts, bribes, incentives and payments through which one supplier/person gains a (possible) dishonest advantage over another. It is the Groups priority to ensure that all dealings are transacted freely and without the temptation or distraction of gifts/incentives etc.
This policy applies solely to our Representatives that take part in any activity involving the rendering of financial services and the distribution and maintenance of financial products.
The purpose of this policy is to provide direction to all Representatives to ensure that the interests of our customers are always protected and that we avoid concluding any transaction that may impede the delivery of fair outcomes.
We are committed to the highest levels of integrity and Representatives are expected to conduct their relationships with all stakeholders with objectivity and honesty, failing which disciplinary action will be taken.
‘GCoC’ means the General Code of Conduct for Authorised Financial Services Providers and Representatives in terms of section 15 of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002.
‘Conflicts of interest’ means any situation in which our company or Representative has an actual or potential interest that may, in rendering a financial service to a customer, • influence the objective performance of his, her or its obligations to that customer; or • prevent our company or Representative from rendering an unbiased and fair financial service to that customer, or from acting in the interests of that customer.
‘Dealership’ means a dealership which employs a Representative working under our FSP.
‘FAIS’ means the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002.‘Financial product’ means a long-term or a short-term insurance contract or policy, referred to in the Long-term Insurance Act 1998, the Short-term Insurance Act, 1998, and the Insurance Act of 2017.
‘Financial services’ means financial advice, an intermediary service or both, each carrying the definition provided in section 1 of FAIS.
‘Insurance Acts’ means the Long-term Insurance Act 1998, the Short-term Insurance Act, 1998, and the Insurance Act of 2017.
‘Insurer’ means any registered insurance company with whom we enjoy an intermediary relationship and from whom we earn any form of income.
‘Regulation’ means the regulations and/or subordinate legislation attached to and forming part of FAIS or the Insurance Acts
‘Representative’ means our employee or bank employee seconded to our Group by a respective finance house who renders a financial service to a customer on our behalf.
3. IDENTIFICATION AND MANAGEMENT OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
The areas of conflicting interest listed below and the relations in those areas which may give rise to conflict are not exhaustive. Conflicts might arise in other areas or through other relations. It is assumed that Representatives will recognize such areas and relation by analogy. It is this company’s policy to identify all possible areas of potential or actual conflict and list them in this document. For this reason, it is every Representative’s responsibility to report possible unidentified conflicts to a director for evaluation and where necessary, inclusion in this governance policy.
3.2 Income that we receive
Commission and profit-share from insurers
The commission income that we receive must never exceed the capped commissions as detailed in the Regulations as amended from time to time. In the event that it is found that additional commission has been received inadvertently or deliberately, the additional commission must be refunded to insurers immediately.
We do not own or participate in any cell captive arrangement or take a material shareholding in any insurer with whom we have an agency agreement or an outsourced agreement.
Should the company decide to participate in a cell captive arrangement, the Representative is compelled to disclose this fact to a customer.
Fees from Dealerships
Our fees charged to dealerships will always be subject to a written service level agreement and will have no impact on customers’ interests.
We will not accept any remuneration of any kind from dealerships where the amount is not included in the service level agreement.
Outsourced Fees from Insurers
All outsourced fees received from insurers in respect of binders or other outsourced arrangement will be dealt strictly in accordance with the regulations of the insurance acts as amended from time to time.
3.3 Incentives that Representatives must decline
Incentives and gifts from suppliers
No Representative may accept gifts or any incentivisation of any kind for any reason unless part of a salary and incentivisation programme paid in terms of a full-time employment contract. Any incentive of whatsoever nature offered to a Representative must be declined and reported to a director. If the service supplier is governed by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, the director is compelled to report the matter to the authorities.
Failure to advise a key individual of any such gift or incentive will result in disciplinary action.
Targets and employment conditions imposed by dealerships
It is common for dealerships to provide monthly incentive schemes which drive the achievement of short-term performance targets in support of the dealership’s growth plans and financial performance. The monthly paid cash incentives to our representatives are consequently based on the attainment of strategic, financial, and personal performance objectives.
To eliminate unintended behavioural consequences outlined above, we have introduced specific service level standards and controls which ensure that the quantity of business secured is not achieved without also giving due regard to the delivery of fair outcomes to customers.
We have appointed external compliance officers to carry out random monitoring of all Representatives to ensure that the advice and disclosures provided to our customers correlates with our culture of treating customers fairly. On a regular basis, our compliance officers provide reports to our directors which reports ‘score’ the quality of advice and the advice-giving procedures of each Representative. The score chart is based on every aspect of the advice-giving procedure, which is divided into many parts. Each part is scored as a percentage and the average percentage overall is then calculated. If the Representative scores less than a certain percentage, additional training is provided. Following the training, further performance reviews are undertaken and if the Representative still fails to obtain the desired score, disciplinary action will be taken which may include suspension or debarment.
4. ACTIONS ON DISCOVERY OF POTENTIAL CONFLICTS
If a Representative identifies a potential conflict of interest with a customer, this must be brought to the attention of a key individual who will decide whether or not a transaction can be concluded.
If there is a conflict of interest that cannot be avoided, and a director has approved the fulfilling of a transaction with a customer because it has been established that concluding the transaction will not impede the delivery of fair outcomes, comprehensive details of that conflict must be disclosed to a customer as well as any procedures that we may adopt to mitigate that conflict of interest.
We will disclose all conflicts of interest and potential conflicts of interest to our customers in at least one of the following ways:
In selecting one or both of the above, we will take into account the type of conflict and the impact it might have on the customer’s decision to purchase our products/services or not.
5. PERFORMANCE REVIEWS AND DISCIPLINARY ACTION
Our function is to ensure that each Representative complies with this conflict-of-interest management policy and to achieve this we hold frequent performance review meetings with each Representative. The performance review includes measuring the performance achieved againstthe standards we have set from which we establish whether or not additional training is required, or whether more serious action is necessary.
Contravention or breach of any of these criteria will be viewed in a serious light and will in most situations result in an immediate dismissal. In addition, where it is shown that the Group incurred a loss or was fined, these amounts will be recovered form the offending or guilty party/ies.
6. AWARENESS AND TRAINING
We ensure that Representatives are aware of the contents of this conflict-of-interest management policy and where necessary we provide appropriate training and educational material. Our training is provided in group session as well as video based via the ACM Risk Consultants CPD platform and is combined with other instruments such as advice-giving procedures and disclosures. Our compliance monitoring programmes together with our performance review processes will identify where additional training is required.
Our Representatives are also required to complete CPD programmes via the platform mentioned above, and conflict of interest form one of the major components.
In respect of our customers, Representatives are trained to disclose at the point of sale, that our conflict-of-interest governance policy is freely available for perusal. We also publish our policy on our website for easy accessibility to the public.