Protecting your rights
Background to The Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act
Your money is precious to you, and deciding who should advise you on your investments is not a decision to be taken lightly. To protect your rights, the Ministry of Finance, as far back as 1993, investigated mechanisms for regulating conduct within the financial services industry.
The main purpose was to:
This resulted in the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act which was enacted in November 2002. We are committed to serving you, our customers, within and beyond the specifications of the law.
Aim of the Act
FSPs are managed by key individuals who bring both technical competence in a particular financial product category, as well as managerial skills to their organisations.
Fit and proper requirements
The Act requires that competent and qualified persons render services and give advice (fit and proper requirements). Fit and Proper requirements of a representative include:
The Act entitles you to sound financial advice, services and products that best suit your needs. Your financial adviser, therefore, needs to be trustworthy and knowledgeable and understand your needs.
The Act entitles you to complain about any inappropriate advice given, or service rendered, in relation to a particular financial product. While we would request the opportunity to resolve any issues raised internally, the FAIS Ombud has been created by the FSB to handle all FAIS-related complaints in a way that is fast, procedurally fair, informal and economical.
Financial services defined
"Advice" is defined in the Act as "guidance or recommendations of a financial nature to a customer on a financial product, irrespective of when it is furnished or the result of the advice."
Anything other than advice is referred to as an "intermediary service".
Financial products covered by the Act include:
Loans and credit agreements are excluded from the Act
Our responsibilities as a financial services provider
We have always done business according to the Codes of Conduct which the FAIS Act now demands of FSPs. We pride ourselves in exceeding the requirements set down, in many aspects.
Our management team comprises personnel who display honesty and integrity and who have demonstrated competence in their fields.
The representatives we employ in our FSPs are selected along the same criteria and are well placed to provide products and services in compliance with the Act.
Our processes are designed to ensure that we comply, not only with this Act, but with the many other legally or voluntarily imposed regulations affecting the way in which we conduct business.
We have appointed a dedicated team to ensure, not only that we comply with the regulations set down by the FSB, but who will ensure you receive the best deal possible.
Our Customer Relations Centre has been effective for many years in dealing with customer complaints, and has been recognised for its team's ability to deal effectively with issues brought to its attention. Those issues that are not satisfactorily resolved internally may now be elevated to the FAIS Ombud under the auspices of the FSB.
Any service provider who does not comply with any aspect of the Act is open to prosecution, public declaration of their undesirable practices and administrative penalties.
We will continue to try to act honestly and fairly, and with due skill, care and diligence, in your best interest.
More information on the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act may be obtained from the Financial Services Board (FSB) on their toll free numbers 0800 110 443/0800 202 087, or visit their website at www.fsb.co.za.