Conflict of Interest Policy
This policy sets out your responsibilities for identifying and managing actual and potential conflicts of interest when acting on behalf of Talksure.
The objective of this policy is to ensure that Talksure and its employees are protected in the event of conflicts or perceived conflicts of interest arising. The document is intended to clearly define such conflict and detail and communicate the process for declaring and managing potential conflicts. The “Conflict of interest for Financial Services” policy, which is attached as Annexure A to this policy deals with conflicts of interest which may arise in respect of Talksure as a financial services provider and in instances where its employees may be conflicted in the provision of financial advice and intermediary services to Talksure’s customers.
This document applies to all employees including the executive and non-executive directors of Talksure and outlines the procedure to be followed by employees and directors in disclosing conflicts of interests and in how conflicts of interest are reviewed and dealt with.
Conflict of Interest:
- Any influence, interest or relationship, whether direct or indirect, which may be perceived, whatever its actual outcome or effect, as being incompatible with integrity and objectivity or which in results in competing interests for the employee or director in his/her personal capacity and his/her capacity as an employee or director of Talksure; and/or
- Any situation where the individual or entity is required to act in more than one capacity and relationship within the ambit of any intended or given contract or transaction.
All employees must perform their functions for the benefit and interest of Talksure as a whole.
No employee may enter into any transaction, which may undermine his/her, independence and objectivity in conducting business transactions.
All employees must conduct business in a transparent and ethical manner.
- Where any conflict of interest exists or could potentially exist, employees are obliged to declare such conflict or potential conflict to Talksure and in writing so as to prevent or mitigate the conflict, prevent bringing Talksure or the employee into disrepute and prevent loss or prejudice being suffered (or potentially being suffered) by Talksure.
- All new directors and employees are required to complete a conflict of interest declaration upon appointment as a condition of appointment or employment.
- A director or employee is responsible for declaring any conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest within 24 hours of the date on which the conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest arose.
- A director or employee may not participate in any decision taking relating to a matter in which they believe they may have, or may be perceived to have a conflict of interest, but on which the Ethics Committee (“the Committee”) has not yet ruled.
- All directors, executives, managers and supervisors are responsible for completing an annual conflict of interest declaration detailing any contracts or transactions from which a conflict of interest could arise.
- The Committee is responsible for receiving and reviewing all written declarations and for ensuring that the Policy is applied consistently and without prejudice to any stakeholder.
- The Committee consists of the Chief Executive Officer, Ethics Officer, Chief People Officer and Head of Internal Audit. All employees have an obligation to report any information they may have acquired relating to proposed or existing conflicts of interest, which involve themselves, other employees and/or external stakeholders of Talksure.
- An employee is responsible for informing the Committee within 24 hours of becoming aware thereof, in writing, of any change in facts or circumstances materially affecting the declaration. This information will then be submitted to the Committee for review.
- The Committee must finalise and communicate their decision within ten working days of receipt of the declaration provided all relevant information is available for such decision.
- The Committee is responsible for monitoring compliance to the decisions taken.
- The Ethics Officer is responsible for following-up on all conflict of interest reports logged by the Tip-Offs Hotline, and for conducting investigations where necessary.
Consequences of Non-compliance
Failure to disclose or report a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest constitutes a breach of fiduciary duties owed to Talksure and the Talksure Code of Conduct and will result in disciplinary action, which may lead to dismissal.
Reporting a Conflict of Interest or Potential Conflict of Interest
- Discuss the conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest with your Senior Manager or Department / Division Head. Directors are required to raise their conflict directly with the Company Secretary who shall arrange for it to be declared to the Board as appropriate.
- If the Senior Manager or Department Head are not able to conclusively determine whether a conflict of interest exists or may exist, they may seek advice from the Ethics Officer.
- Where a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest is deemed to exist, the employee must complete a Conflict of Interest Declaration, which is signed and submitted to the Ethics Officer to receive on behalf of the Committee. The declaration must be completed in full and be signed by the employee and the Senior Manager or Head of Department.
- Any undeclared conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest, which an employee may become aware of or be informed of, must be reported to the Tip-Offs Hotline, the Ethics Officer or to the Head of Internal Audit and will be subject to investigation.
- The employee is obliged to disclose all relevant information and additional information requested by the Committee. Failure to do so would result in the transaction or contract being prohibited by default.
Reviewing the Declarations
- All declarations are to be received by the Ethics Officer on behalf of the Committee.
- The Committee is entitled to request and access any relevant additional information required from the employee in reviewing the declaration.
- A written report must be completed detailing the decision of the Committee and be submitted to the Ethics Officer and Department Head or Senior Manager to be discussed with the employee or stakeholder, inclusive of the decision and a guideline of corrective or preventative action to be taken.
- An employee is then required to complete and update the position via an annual declaration.
- The decision of the Committee is binding. 8.6 The Committee will review all annual declarations and inform employees of the results of their review in writing.
- Where a member of the Committee submits a Conflict of Interest Declaration on behalf of him/herself, such member may not participate in any part of the review process related to the declaration.
- The Committee must report to the Talksure Social & Ethics Committee on any material findings or matters involving the members of the Committee.
- Director conflicts of interests will be resolved by the Board of Talksure as a whole. The provisions of this policy do not extinguish the duties of executive directors to declare conflicts of interests in line with the provisions of Section 75 of the South African Companies Act.
- The Ethics Officer is responsible for recording all conflicts of interest in a register.
- All declarations must be signed by the Committee, contain full details of the findings and be filed by the Ethics Officer.
- All new and annual declarations must be submitted to the Ethics Officer.
- Each declaration reviewed by the Committee must be assigned a unique reference number and this reference number must be communicated to the employee or stakeholder for future reference.
Rights and Responsibilities
- If the Committee deems it necessary, it may, at Talksure’s expense, seek expert advice and legal counsel when reviewing the declarations, in the interest of reaching informed decisions, which are in line with good corporate governance and acceptable business practice.
- An employee or stakeholder who believes or who has reason to believe that the decision of the Committee is unjust, unsound or unreasonable may seek independent legal advice at their own expense.
- The onus is on an employee or stakeholder to prove that no conflict of interest exists.
The Ethics Officer will be responsible for the training of all staff in respect of conflicts of interests, including examples or possible conflicts of interest that may emerge with clients or with Talksure business interests.
All parties are obliged to protect the confidentiality of information pertaining to the declaration, unless they are compelled to release such by operation of law. In all other instances, the prior permission of the employee will be requested if the information is required to be disclosed to other persons.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES
This document serves as an annexure to Talksure Trading’s internal Conflict of Interest Policy (COI) and outlines Talksure’s responsibility as a financial services provider.
The General Code of Conduct for Authorised Financial Services Providers and Representatives (“General Code”) in terms of section 15 of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act 37 of 2002 (“FAIS”) requires the Company to implement a Conflicts of Interest Policy, to make it available to Clients and to ensure controls are in place to avoid and/or manage all Conflicts of Interest when dealing with Clients.
This annexure provides clarity as to what constitutes a Conflict of Interest for FAIS and the process to follow when a Conflict of Interest has been identified. Conflicts of Interest should be avoided as far as possible, if this is not possible then Talksure Trading must implement mitigation controls to manage such risks and properly disclose such risks to Clients to ultimately ensure the fair treatment of Clients at all times
A Conflict of Interest as defined in section 4 of the policy is extended to include any situation in which a provider or a representative has an actual or potential interest that may, in the rendering a financial service to a client, either:
- influence the objective performance of his/ her obligations to that client; or
- prevent a provider or representative from rendering an unbiased and fair financial service to that client; or
- prevent a provider from acting in the best interests of that client, due to the Company/Rep receiving financial interest (material financial interests excluding a maximum of a R1000 received by the Company or per Rep per year; or
- provided by the Company to an another the Company/ Rep per year); or ownership interest or any relationship with a third party.
Reporting a Conflict of Interest or Potential Conflict of Interest
The Ethics Officer has an obligation to:
- Implement mitigation controls and disclose Conflict of interests to Clients in writing at the earliest reasonable opportunity;
- Regularly identify new Conflicts of Interest and review identified Conflicts of Interests to ensure management controls remain effective; and
- Update and feedback to Key Individuals on incidents and action taken.
COI identification will include contracts, proposed contracts and similar transactions or arrangements and gifts, hospitality and inducements. These must be recorded appropriately on a register.
- Ensure that training outlines that employees cannot attend hospitality events, without their line manager’s approval. Where an invitation could be construed as being a business inducement, it must be declined.
- Ensure that implemented controls to manage COI will comply with FAIS COI requirements with the ultimate aim to treat clients fairly.
Roles and Responsibilities
The following key areas are important to ensure that Conflicts of Interests are properly addressed in the business of the Company:
Board: The Chief Executive and Company Secretary is ultimately responsible to ensure compliance with FAIS as one of the key pieces of legislation applicable to its business. Conflicts of interest will become a standing agenda item for Board and Management meetings. Procedures will be drafted and adopted to form part of the compliance documentation so as to ensure that Conflicts of Interests are properly addressed within the business.
Key Individual: The Key Individual is responsible for the internal oversight function to implement appropriate processes and procedures for the effective risk management of conflicts of interest and other risks arising within the Company. The Key Individual is responsible for the implementation of the conflicts management policies, procedures and controls to enable the Company to manage conflicts effectively, as highlighted by the Ethics Officer. The Key Individual is also responsible for identifying, recording and managing conflicts of interest within the business. He/she must keep adequate records of the management process, from the identification through to the effective resolution of the conflict.
Compliance: FSCA appointed compliance officer, as compliance officer of the Company is available to assist in the handling of any identified conflict relating to the business of the Company. This may involve assessing and evaluating the conflict within the Company and deciding upon the appropriate response to the conflict. FSCA appointed compliance officer will ensure conflict-monitoring procedures are in place to ensure that any noncompliance with the Company’s conflicts management arrangements are identified and appropriately acted on appropriately.