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Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002 (Act No. 37 of 2002)

General code of conduct for authorised financial services providers and representatives, 2003

Part XI : Complaints

 

 

16. General

 

1) In this Part-

"complaint" means a complaint as defined in section 1(1) of the Act (excluding the reference to section 26(1)(a)(iii) therein), submitted by a client to a provider for purposes of resolution by the provider;

"internal complaint resolution system and procedures", in relation to a provider and a client, means the system and procedures established and maintained by the provider in accordance with this Code for the resolution of complaints by clients;

"Ombud" means the Ombud for Financial Services Providers referred to in section 20(2) of the Act;

"resolution", or "internal resolution", in relation to a complaint and a provider, means the process of the resolving of a complaint through and in accordance with the internal complaint resolution system and procedures of the provider;

"Rules" means the Rules on Proceedings of the Office of the Ombud for Financial Services Providers, 2002.

 

2) A provider must-
a) request that any client who has a complaint against the provider must lodge such complaint in writing;
b) maintain a record of such complaints for a period of five years;
c) handle complaints from clients in a timely and fair manner;
d) take steps to investigate and respond promptly to such complaints; and
e) where such a complaint is not resolved to the client’s satisfaction, advise the client of any further steps which may be available to the client in terms of the Act or any other law.

 

 

17. Basic principles of systems and procedures

 

A provider, excluding a representative must maintain an internal complaint resolution system and procedures based on the following:

a) Maintenance of a comprehensive complaints policy outlining the provider's commitment to, and system and procedures for, internal resolution of complaints;
b) transparency and visibility: ensuring that clients have full knowledge of the procedures for resolution of their complaints;
c) accessibility of facilities: ensuring the existence of easy access to such procedures at any office or branch of the provider open to clients, or through ancillary postal, fax, telephone or electronic helpdesk support; and
d) fairness; ensuring that a resolution of a complaint can during and by means of the resolution process be effected which is fair to both clients and the provider and its staff.

 

 

18. Resolution of complaints

 

The internal complaint resolution system and procedures of the provider excluding a representative must be designed to ensure the existence and maintenance of at least the following for purposes of effective and fair resolution of complaints:

a) availability of adequate manpower and other resources;
b) adequate training of all relevant staff, including imparting and ensuring full knowledge of the provisions of the Act, the Rules and this Code with regard to resolution of complaints;
c) ensure that responsibilities and mandates are delegated to facilitate complaints resolution of a routine nature;
d) ensure that there is provision for the escalation of non-routine serious complaints and the handling thereof by staff with adequate expertise;
e) internal follow-up procedures to ensure avoidance of occurrences giving rise to complaints, or to improve services and complaint systems and procedures where necessary; and

 

 

19. Specific obligations

 

1) Subject to the other provisions of this Part, the internal complaint resolution system and procedures of a provider excluding a representative must contain arrangements which-
a) must-
i) reduce the details of the internal complaint resolution system and procedures of the provider, including all subsequent updating or upgrading thereof, to writing;
ii) provide that access to the procedures is at all times available to clients at any relevant office or branch of the provider, or by electronic medium, and that such availability is appropriately made known by public press or electronic announcements or separate business communications to existing clients;
iii) include in the details envisaged in subparagraph (i), a reference to the duties of the provider and the rights of a client set out in Rule 6(a) and (b) of the Rules;
iv) include in such details a clear summary of the provisions of the Act, which will apply whenever the client, after dismissal of a complaint by the provider, wishes to pursue further proceedings before the Ombud; and
v) include in such details the name, address and other contact particulars of the Ombud;
b) must stipulate that complaints must, if possible, be submitted in writing and must contain all relevant information, and that copies of all relevant documentation must be attached thereto;
c) must provide that the receipt of complaints is promptly acknowledged in writing to the client, with communication particulars of contact staff to be involved in the resolution of the complaint, and are properly internally recorded by the relevant staff for purposes of compliance with section 18(b) and (d) of the Act;
d) must make provision that after the receipt and recording of a particular complaint, the complaint will as soon as practically possible be forwarded to the relevant staff appointed to consider its resolution, and that-
i) the complaint receives proper consideration;
ii) appropriate management controls are available to exercise effective control and supervision of the consideration process;
iii) the client is informed of the results of the consideration within the time referred to in Rule 6(b) of the Rules: Provided that if the outcome is not favourable to the client, full written reasons must be furnished to the client within the time referred to in Rule 6(b) of the Rules, and the client must be advised that the complaint may within six months be pursued with the Ombud whose name, address and other contact particulars must simultaneously be provided to the client.

 

2) In any case where a complaint is resolved in favour of a client, the provider must ensure that a full and appropriate level of redress is offered to the client without any delay.