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Code of Conduct

Purpose and Scope

 

The purpose of the FINASA Code of Conduct is to draw a distinction between FinTech industry participants that commit to ethical conduct and protecting the public, and those that do not. 

 

The FINASA Code of Conduct is binding on all FINASA members in all their activities, transactions, and relationships when promoting, offering, providing, or using financial technology products or services. FINASA members agree, in writing, at the time of membership and for any renewal of membership, to adhere to the Code of Conduct[LV1] , and to notify FINASA of any existing or potential breach of the Code of Code as soon as they become aware of such transgressions. Failure to do either is, a breach

of this Code. 

 

Violations of this Code of Conduct are subject to disciplinary action and the implementation of the Complaints Procedure. Disciplinary actions [LV2] are determined by the FINASA Board of Directors and can include sanctions such as the suspension or termination of FINASA membership.

 

Principles

 

FINASA Members must:

 

  1. Maintain the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in their interactions and activities, be honest, transparent, and accountable for their actions, and not behave in a manner that would discredit the FinTech industry (incl. unjustifiably criticising [LV3] others) or lead to a loss of public confidence in the FinTech industry.

  2. Comply with applicable laws, regulations, and industry standards that govern the conduct of organisations and individuals in South Africa, subject to the principle of presumption of innocence, including adhering to data protection and privacy laws, anti-money laundering regulations, consumer protection laws, and any other relevant regulations.

  3. Protect confidential information, customer data and privacy, establish robust, up-to-date security measures, and obtain proper and informed consent for data collection and usage.

  4. Operate in a fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory manner towards all stakeholders, including clients, customers, suppliers, competitors, employees, and independent contractors, provide clear and accurate information to clients and customers, and ensure that clients and customers understand the risks and terms associated with products and services.

  5. Engage in honest and transparent communications, including marketing and advertising, ensure accurate representation of products and services, and refrain from manipulation, concealment, abuse of privileged information, misrepresentation or any other false, ambiguous, misleading, or deceptive practices, including asking or causing others to engage in such practices.

  6. Promote the sustainable, responsible, and ethical use of technology within the FinTech industry, by ensuring fair and unbiased use of algorithms and artificial intelligence, avoiding discriminatory practices, ensuring cost-effectiveness, and financial stability and security, and preventing the misuse of technology for fraudulent or malicious purposes.

  7. Actively promote financial literacy, education, and inclusion to empower consumers and organisations to make informed financial decisions that contribute to economic growth, the eradication of poverty, gender equality, reduced inequality, responsible consumption, and justice.

  8. Encourage collaboration and cooperation within the industry and with industry stakeholders, such as regulators, policymakers, and other associations, by sharing best practices, contributing to industry standards, and working together to address common challenges and promote innovation.

  9. Identify and manage conflicts of interest between private and personal, and business and professional relationships that may arise in their activities, disclose any potential conflicts to relevant parties, and take action to mitigate or avoid conflicts that could compromise their impartiality or objectivity.

  10. Operate within the limits of their expertise and commit to ongoing professional development to stay updated on industry trends, best practices, and regulatory changes, for example, by participating in training programmes, attending industry conferences, or pursuing relevant certifications.

 

Complaints Procedure

 

  1. The FINASA Board of Directors adjudicates upon complaints against FINASA members, and any appeals. The FINASA Board appoints:

  2. An Ethics Committee that includes at least three FINASA members, and is chaired by a FINASA Director, to consider complaints and make recommendations to the FINASA Board.

  3. An Appeals Committee that includes: 

    1. an experienced member of the legal profession who presides over the Appeal, and 

    2. two assessors who are FINASA members, who do not have a vote and who advise the legal professional. 

 

All members of the Appeals Committee must be independent from the Ethics Committee. The Appeals Committee is convened ad hoc, when an Appeal is received, to consider the complaint record and the appeal, and make recommendations to the Board.

 

  1. FINASA indemnifies the members of the Ethics Committee and the Appeals Committee against any claims which may be brought against them as a result of a decision handed down by them.

  2. Complaints can be submitted by any natural or juristic person, and must be clear and concise, containing only information that is strictly relevant to the complaint, limited, as far as possible, to factual allegations.

  3. Complaints and appeals processing will be subject to a non-refundable processing fee[LV4] , at the discretion of the FINASA Board of Directors.

  4. Complaints must be submitted in the manner and form determined by the FINASA Board of Directors. Complaint submissions should include:

    1. The name of the FINASA member that the complaint is about

    2. A written statement about the events that led to the complaint

    3. Evidence in support of the complaint and copies of all relevant correspondence

    4. Contact details of any witnesses

    5. Contact details of the person representing the complainant in terms of the complaint

 

Complaints are adjudicated in terms of the requirements contained in the FINASA Code of Conduct, and any Ethical Practice Guidelines approved by the FINASA Board and published on the FINASA website.

 

  1. The FINASA complaints processes are transparent, and neither the complainant nor the respondent will remain anonymous[LV5] . A summary of the complaint and findings will be published on the FINASA website once the complaint has been fully processed.

  2. Complainants and respondents must clearly identify, mark, and attach separately any information considered confidential. A non-confidential summary of the information must also be submitted with the complaint or response. The FINASA Ethics Committee will determine, at its sole discretion, whether the information marked confidential qualifies as confidential and will inform the person who submitted the documentation accordingly.

  3. Decisions made by the Ethics Committee will be by majority vote. Where an equality of voting occurs, the Chair of the Ethics Committee will have a casting vote in addition to their deliberate vote. The quorum for meetings will be two thirds of Ethics Committee members in addition to the Chair of the Ethics Committee. 

 

Complaint Submission and Response

 

  1. When a person or organisation (i.e., the complainant) submits a complaint against a FINASA member, FINASA acknowledges receipt of the complaint, including attaching the Code of Conduct, and forwards the complaint to the FINASA member against whom the complaint is lodged (i.e., the respondent), identifying the relevant requirement(s) in the Code of Conduct and Ethical Practice Guidelines that relate to the complaint, where applicable.

  2. The respondent must respond to the complaint within fourteen (14) days, in a manner and form determined by the FINASA Board of Directors, which should include:

    1. A written statement about the events that led to the complaint

    2. The respondent's defence to the complaint

    3. Evidence in support of the defence and copies of all relevant correspondence

    4. Contact details of any witnesses

    5. Contact details of the person representing the respondent in terms of the complaint

 

3.  FINASA acknowledges receipt of the respondent's defence and forwards the response to the complainant.

 

Hearing of the Complaint

 

  1. The Chairman of the FINASA Ethics Committee, who presides over hearings, determines the date, time, and venue for the hearing of complaint. FINASA schedules the hearing for the first available time, and notifies the Ethics Committee members, complainant and the respondent of the date, time, and venue of the hearing.

  2. Neither the complainant nor the respondent will be entitled to legal representation at the hearing. 

  3. The complainant and respondent must appear in person (either physically or electronically) and may give oral evidence and call witnesses. Any party who gives oral evidence may be cross-examined and questioned by the Ethics Committee and may be re-examined. No arguments may be made, or new evidence introduced, at the hearing that were not made or submitted as part of the complaint submission or response.

  4. Any party giving evidence at a complaint hearing must take an oath or make affirmation.

  5. FINASA must record all oral evidence given at a complaint hearing.​

 

Findings and Recommendations
 

  1. After the completion of the hearing the FINASA Ethics Committee considers the complaint and submits the findings and recommendations to the FINASA Board of Directors in the form and manner determined by the FINASA Board of Directors.

  2. The FINASA Board of Directors may seek clarification from the Ethics Committee regarding their findings and recommendations, must approve the findings and recommendations of the Ethics Committee with or without changes, and prepare a final written report regarding the findings and recommendations.

  3. FINASA forwards the final written report containing the findings and recommendations to the Ethics Committee, the complainant, and the respondent, informing the complainant and the respondent of their right to appeal the findings and recommendations in writing within fourteen (14) days.

  4. If neither the complainant nor the respondent appeals the findings and recommendations of the FINASA Board of Directors, FINASA publishes a summary of the complaint, response and findings and recommendations on the FINASA website.

 

Appeal

 

If an appeal is received following the report of the FINASA Board of Directors:

 

  1. The FINASA Board of Directors must within fourteen days 

    1. Convene an Appeals Committee

    2. Provide the Appeal Committee with the entire record of the complaint to date.

    3. The Appeal must be completed within sixty days of receipt.

    4. The Appeals Committee reviews the complaint record, and the legal professional makes the decision to uphold, revise or rescind each of the findings and recommendations of the FINASA Board of Directors.

    5. The presiding legal professional may call on the parties and/or their witnesses to provide oral evidence. The parties will not be entitled to legal representation and evidence must be given on oath or affirmation.

    6. The findings and recommendations of the Appeals Committee must be communicated to all parties involved in the dispute and to the FINASA Board of Directors. 

    7. A summary of the findings and recommendations of the Appeals Committee will be published on the FINASA website.

    8. There will be no further right of appeal.

 

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