Financial Intermediary & Broker Association – FIBA

AOBP evolves into new broad based trade body

The Association of Bridging Professionals (AOBP) has announced that it has changed its name and become the Financial Intermediary & Broker Association (FIBA).

The change of name reflects the trade body’s stated aim to become the natural home for all advisers and lenders, regardless of their particular lending sector of interest, whilst maintaining the Association’s current emphasis on specialist property finance.

The existing AOBP membership of IFAs, residential mortgage and commercial finance brokers and a wide range of lenders forms a strong base of support and the intention is to reach out and attract brokers, lenders and tertiary service providers involved in the specialist lending sector, who have seen the benefits of this Association in the past but now want more support.

TFC Homeloans Director and FIBA Executive Committee member, Wayne Smethurst, commented, “This is an exciting day for us, after all the hard work that has gone into bringing the new association into being. We are looking forward to taking our message to intermediaries and lenders across the finance sector and particularly to those who have not felt that there is an organisation that speaks to them or for them. At the same time, we intend to complement existing arrangements that some of our members may already have in place.

We are planning to be not only a dynamic organisation for members by providing access to exclusive lender and provider product and service initiatives, but also a campaigning voice which will look to represent the interests of all our members by engaging proactively with government, regulators and industry.”

As the primary supporter of the new association, David Golder of SimplyBiz, said, “The AOBP has a long history of supporting brokers, lenders and advisers and we are delighted to be involved as an investor in ensuring this goes from strength to strength. This is not our first investment in a not-for-profit business and we take seriously our collective responsibility to support best practice in the sector”.

In summary, FIBA’s principal aim is to be a ‘broad church’ encompassing the whole of the market and therefore looks forward to constructive dialogue with all stakeholders associated with the lending sector.

Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Composition and Scope

Our code consists of two parts, the Code of Ethics and the Code of Professional Conduct. The Code of Ethics consists of statements expressing in general terms the ethical and professional ideals expected of all Members.

They are referred to and expanded upon in the detailed guidance contained within the Code of Professional Conduct (below).

The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct sets out the standards of ethical and professional conduct expected to be followed in situations.

This combined Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct does not define the standards of professional conduct of a Member for the purposes of civil liability, or for statutory or other legal requirements.

Note: these guidelines may be applicable to a Member’s activities or to those of their employees. The Member is therefore required to abide by those guidelines which are relevant to that Member’s activities.

A Member is obliged to determine what responsibilities the Member has in each professional relationship, including, for example duties that arise in particular circumstances from a position of trust or confidence that a Member may have. Members are obliged to meet those responsibilities.

Ethical conduct is a hallmark of any profession. A Member owes duties to their clients, to the public, to other professionals and to other Members. These duties form the basis of the Code of Ethics, which specifies the minimum standards of ethical conduct expected of Members.

For the purposes of the Code, the term Member includes, where applicable, the Member’s employees, Members, representatives, and consultants (hereinafter referred to as Staff). The Association (FIBA) will expect therefore that all Member’s make them aware of this Code and require that they comply with it.

Code of Ethics

Integrity

All advice by a Member must be given honestly, with transparency and with full disclosure of all relevant information. A Member should conduct their affairs in accordance with not just the letter, but also the spirit of the law, and principles set out in regulation.

Objectivity

A Member should be and be seen to be providing objective and independent services, always in the best interest of the client. Any potential conflict of interest must always be disclosed at the earliest opportunity, and the Member should then only continue with the agreement of the client.

Competence

A Member should continuously try to maintain and improve the professional competence of their relevant Staff and should not undertake work in areas in which it is not competent unless it obtains advice and assistance from a competent practitioner in those areas.

Confidentiality

Information acquired in the course of professional work should not be disclosed expect where:

  • authorised by the client, or
  • required by law, or court order

A Member should never use, nor appear to use, such information for the advantage of themselves or for a third party.

Courtesy

A Member should conduct their business with courtesy and consideration to all with whom it comes into contact in the course of professional work.

General

A Member should not engage in any conduct or activity, the consequences of which would bring the financial intermediary profession or FIBA into disrepute.

Code of Professional Conduct

Detailed Guidelines

The Code of Professional Conduct provides detailed guidance on how the Code of Ethics is translated into standards of professional conduct. FIBA will use these standards to assess the conduct of Members and their staff.

1. Integrity

Member’s must be honest and open in all dealings with their clients and must put their clients’ interests before their own.
Integrity requires Members to observe not only the letter, but also the spirit, of this Code.

Guidelines that relate to the principle of Integrity

1.01 A Member shall disclose in writing to a client any other relationships which might compromise the Member’s objectivity or independence.
1.02 A Member shall enter into an engagement only after securing sufficient information to satisfy him or herself that: –

  1. the relationship is warranted by the client’s needs and objective; and
  2. the Member has the ability either to provide competently the required services or to involve other professionals who can so provide such services.

1.03 In rendering professional services, a Member shall disclose to the client information that is material and relevant to the professional relationship, including but not limited to any conflict of interest, changes in the Member’s contact details, relevant licences, qualifications or accreditation and remuneration structure.
1.04 These guidelines are intended for the individual as much as they are for Member Firms. Individuals of Member Firms should ensure that all associated Staff adhere to these guidelines within the Firm’s operating procedures.
1.05 In additional to the initial written disclosure by a Member regarding the basis of their remuneration, such disclosure shall also be made whenever there is a subsequent change.
1.06 On entering into an engagement to provide services to a client, a Member shall enter into a client agreement by means of a terms of business letter or similar agreed and signed by the client.
1.07 Should an actual conflict of interest develop after a professional relationship has been commenced, but before the services contemplated by that relationship have been completed, a Member shall promptly disclose the conflict of interest to the client or other necessary persons.
1.08 A Member shall not solicit clients through false or misleading communications or advertisements (including false or misleading communication about the size, scope, or areas of competence of the Member).
1.09 In the course of professional activities, a Member shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, or knowingly make a false or misleading statement to a client, employer, employee, professional colleague, governmental or other regulatory body or official, or any other person or entity.
1.10 A Member shall not engage in any conduct, which reflects adversely on its integrity as a Member of FIBA.
1.11 A Member should have their own clearly defined internal complaints procedure, and should deal with any complaint received, in a timely fashion and in good faith.

2. Objectivity

Objectivity requires intellectual honest and impartiality. It is an essential quality for any professional firm. Regardless of the service rendered, or the capacity in which a Member functions, a Member should protect the integrity of its work, maintain objectivity, and avoid subordination of its judgment, such that it would be violation of this Code.

Guidelines that relate to the principle of objectivity

2.01 A Member shall exercise reasonable and prudent professional judgment in providing professional services.
2.02 A Member shall always act and advise in the best interest of the client

3. Competence

A Member is competent only when he/she or one or more of their Staff has attained or maintained an adequate level of knowledge and skill, and applies that knowledge effectively in providing services to clients. Competence also includes the wisdom to recognise the limitations of that knowledge and when consultation or client referral is appropriate.

A Member shall make a continuing commitment to learning and professional improvement for themselves and their Staff.

Guidelines that relate to the principle of competence

3.01 A Member shall ensure their Staff are informed of developments in the lending landscape and any financial services regulations and compliance that may impact on them and their activities and that they participate in continuing education.
3.02 A Member shall offer advice only in those area in which they have competence. In areas where the Member is not professionally competent, it shall seek the counsel of competent firms or individuals or refer clients to such parties.
3.03 A Member shall only make or implement recommendations which are suitable for the client in the attainment of that client’s objectives.

4. Confidentiality

A client by seeking the services of a Member may be interested in creating a relationship of trust and confidence with the Member. This type of relationship can only be built upon the understanding that information supplied to the Member or obtained by it will be confidential, except where that information is already in the public domain, is disclosed by another party or must be disclosed under a regulatory or legal obligation. To provide the contemplated services effectively and to protect the client’s privacy, the Member shall safeguard the confidentiality of such information.

Guidelines that relate to the principle of Confidentiality

4.01 A Member shall not reveal or use for its own benefit, without the client’s consent, any information relating to the client relationship or the affairs of the client, except and to the extent of disclosure or use where reasonably necessary. Use of data is permitted:

  1. as authorised to carry out the client engagement; or
  2. to comply with legal requirements, or legal process; or
  3. to defend the Member against charges of wrongdoing; or
  4. in connection with a civil dispute between the Member and the client.

For the purposes of this guideline, the use of client information as set out above, is improper whether or not it causes harm to the client.

5. Courtesy

Courtesy is treating others in the same fashion that one would wish to be treated and is an essential quality of any professional.

Guidelines that relate to the principle of courtesy

5.01 A Member shall show respect for other professionals and related occupational groups by engaging in fair and honourable competitive practices.
5.02 A Member shall respond to client communications promptly.

6. General Guidelines on Diligence

6.01 A Member shall comply with all applicable post-accreditation requirements established by FIBA including, but not limited to, payment of the annual subscription and provision of any additional information, as applicable.
6.02 In all professional activities, a Member shall perform services in accordance with: –

  1. applicable laws, rules and regulations of governmental bodies and other applicable authorities;
  2. applicable rules and other established policies of FIBA.

6.03 A Member shall not practice any other profession or offer to provide such services unless the Member is qualified to practice in those fields and is authorised as required by law.
6.04 An Association shall properly supervise its staff with regard to its delivery of services, and shall not accept or condone conduct in violation of this Code.

 

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