CII Offers All U.K. Brokers Guidance on Conflict of Interest Solutions

November 29, 2005

The U.K.’s Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) announced that it is making its guidance note on Conflicts of Interest available to the whole market in view of the FSA’s letter last week to chief executives on the subject (See IJ Website Nov. 28).

The CII bulletin notes that the FSA’s letter stressed “the importance of the management of conflicts in the business of insurance intermediaries,” based on findings from the study it conducted into current market practice. “This study highlighted that firms should review current and potential conflicts of interest and establish a formal conflicts policy,” said the CII.

“As part of its Code of Ethics and Conduct the CII already provides specific guidance to its members on the processes individuals and firms should put in place to ensure that where potential conflicts of interests could arise, they are either avoided or managed appropriately to minimize the risk of detriment to customers,” said the bulletin.

CII Director General Dr. Alexander Scott commented: “CII members should anticipate and deal proactively with conflicts of interest. Our guidance note is designed to support members, many of whom are senior managers in intermediary firms and who are ideally placed to help their organisations manage conflicts properly.”

In addition to putting the guidance note on the CII’s Website, the Institute is sending a copy to all members of its Faculty of Insurance Brokers and to 800 of its corporate broker contacts, along with details of CII services including a new face-to-face training course, new content on broker ASSESS and is to facilitate a series of regional workshops.

“The FSA have given firms a deadline of January 20 to respond to the required actions in their letter, this demonstrates the importance they are giving to ensure robust conflicts programmes are developed”, Scott continued. “We have liaised with the FSA who are highly supportive of our guidance notes and the action we are taking.”

The CII is also developing a range of case histories based on all aspects of its Code of Ethics and Conduct that will be available free to members and to firms. These will form an integral part of the CII’s recently launched continuing professional development scheme and the forthcoming job role and competency framework. Earlier this month the CII published a series of guidance notes on Treating the Customer Fairly within its professional development programme.
The Conflicts of Interest guidance note can be viewed at www.cii.co.uk.

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