Conflicts of Interest Policy
Under the FCA’s Principle for Business, Principle 8 (Conflicts of interest) we are required to pay due regard to the interests of each client and to prevent or manage any conflicts of interest fairly, both between our firm and our clients and between a client and another client. The specific rules for dealing with conflicts of interest can be found under the Senior Management Systems and Controls (SYSC) rules which can be found at SYSC 10.
We will take all appropriate steps to identify and prevent or manage conflicts of interest, by:
a) Identifying and preventing any potential circumstances which may give rise to conflicts of interest, and which pose a risk of damage to clients’ interests
b) Establishing and maintaining appropriate mechanisms and systems to manage those conflicts and
c) Maintaining systems at all times in an effort to prevent actual damage to clients’ interests through the identified conflicts
The directors fully support this and are committed to ensure that all conflicts between our firm and our clients, and between clients, are managed fairly with no party disadvantaged.
At least on an annual basis, our senior management team will receive a written report providing details of the kinds of services or activities carried out by our firm in which a conflict of interest entailing a risk of damage to the interest of one or more client has arisen or, in the case of an ongoing service or activity, may arise.
In addition to complying with the FCA requirements we recognise that handling conflicts fairly is a fundamental element of good business practice and is required to assist in maintaining and developing our firm’s business.
Identifying a conflict of interest
When identifying the types of conflict that arise, or may arise, we will assess whether our firm, anyone connected with our firm or (if relevant) another client as an interest in the outcome of a service provided to the client which is distinct from the client's interest in that outcome and has the potential to influence the outcome to the detriment of the client.
As a minimum, we will take into account whether our firm, anyone connected with our firm or another client:
a) Is likely to make a financial gain, or avoids a financial loss, at the expense of a client
b) Has a financial or other incentive to favour the interest of another client or group of clients over the interests of a client
c) Carries on the same business as a client
d) Receives or will receive from a person other than a client an inducement in relation to a service provided to the client, in the form of monies, goods or services, other than the standard commission or fee for that service, or
e) Is substantially involved in the management or development of policies in particular where they have influence pricing or distribution costs
Conflicts of interest may therefore include but are not restricted to interests between:
· Our firm and our clients
· Our staff and our clients
· Two or more different clients
· Third parties and our clients
· New services / products and our clients
· Strategic changes and our clients
We have sought to identify and prevent conflicts of interest that exist in our business and have put in place measures we consider appropriate to the relevant conflict in an effort to prevent, monitor, manage and control the potential impact of those conflicts on our clients.
The conflicts identified are recorded on our Conflicts Register.
Managing & disclosing conflicts
The measures for dealing with conflicts are designed to ensure that relevant persons engaged in different business activities involving a conflict of interest carry on those activities at a level of independence, appropriate to the size and activities of the firm and of any group to which it belongs and to the of the risk of damage to the interests of clients.
Examples of procedures for managing conflicts include:
· Effective procedures to prevent or control the exchange of information between relevant persons engaged in activities involving a risk of a conflict of interest where the exchange of that information may harm the interests of one or more clients.
· The separate supervision of relevant persons whose principal functions involve carrying out activities on behalf of, or providing services to, clients whose interests may conflict, or who otherwise represent different interests that may conflict, including those of the firm.
· We also prevent or manage conflicts of interest by the establishment and maintenance of internal arrangements restricting the movement of information within the firm. This requires information held by a person in the course of carrying on one part of our business to be withheld from, or not to be used by, persons with or for whom we act in the course of carrying on another part of our business. Such an arrangement is referred to as a ‘Chinese Wall’ and can include hierarchical separation and physical barriers between the activities likely to involve conflicts of interest, thereby aiming to prevent any undue transmission of information.
· Where, despite the above procedures we identify a conflict of interest which may present risks of damage to the interests of a client, we will clearly disclose, in writing, to the general nature and / or sources of conflicts and the steps taken to mitigate those risks, to the client before undertaking business with the client.
This disclosure will take place as follows:
- The individual who oversees compliance within our firm will be advised of the potential conflict of interest in writing
- We will advise our client in writing, of the potential conflict of interest and ask them to provide their written consent to proceed
This disclosure will:
o Clearly state our firm’s arrangements to prevent or manage that conflict are not sufficient to ensure, with reasonable confidence, that the risks of damage to the interest of the client will be prevented
o Include specific description of the conflicts of interest that arise in the provision of providing our services, and
o Explain the risks to the client that arise as a result of the conflicts of interest
- The client’s written consent along with the request will be passed to the individual who oversees compliance within our firm who can then provide approval to proceed as appropriate
- Copies of both letters, together with the written authorisation to proceed will be retained on the client file
Declining to act
Where we consider we are not able to prevent or manage the conflict of interest in any other way, we may decline to act for the client.
Review of conflicts of interest policy
This policy will be assessed and reviewed on at least an annual basis. Any necessary changes will be made within 20 working days of any review.
A hard copy of this conflicts policy is available on request.