The FAIS Act was enacted on the 30th September 2004 and from this date onwards all advice is regulated to protect the consumer and the advisor for that matter.
Protection for the consumer
Advice must be qualified and appropriate.
Full disclosure and transparency must be provided throughout the process.
A needs analysis should be conducted in every instance unless the client specifically agrees to single product advice.
If the advice provided does not meet the expectations in that it causes financial loss to the client then there is recourse to complain to the ombudsman which has jurisdiction over the advice, product or service.
There are different ombudsmen for different products and services and you need to find the right one:
FAIS Ombudsman – www.faisombud.co.za
Since 1 April 2005, the FAIS Ombud was granted the authority to act as Statutory Ombud under the Financial Services Ombud Schemes Act, 37 of 2004 (‘FSOS Act’). This means that the Ombud can deal with complaints against financial institutions, which do not fall within the jurisdiction of any other ombud scheme or where there is uncertainty over jurisdiction. The FAIS Ombudsman is like the wicketkeeper of the industry. If the ball slips past other jurisdictions he is there to catch it.
FAIS ombudsman deals with complaints not exceeding R800 000. If in this is exceeded then you will have to legally pursue the case on your own.
Ombudsman for long term assurance – Life assurance products and services www.ombud.co.za
Our office provides an independent, objective, efficient and free service to policyholders and others in respect of their complaints arising form long-term insurance policies.
Pension Funds Adjudicator – Pension related products and services, including retirement annuities. www.pfa.org.za
The mandate of the OPFA is to ensure a procedurally fair, economical and expeditious resolution of complaints in terms of the ACT,
Short term Ombudsman www.osti.co.za
Ombudsman for banking services (funded by the banks) – www.obssa.co.za
The process for complaining:
Get everything in writing
The proposal and documentation leading to the advice
Contact the advisor firstly and get him to respond to your concerns
Contact the company represented by the advisor allowing for 30 days to respond
Then contact the relevant ombudsman detailing the complaint as much as possible
Prevention is better in than cure. So take the time to carefully understand the advice and the recommendations provided.
Products can be technical and need explanations.
A competent financial advisor will understand this and should ensure that the solution provided is appropriate for your circumstances.