In 2011, the Financial Services Board (FSB) announced they would be launching Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) in South Africa. Last year, Northwood released a blog that noted a few instances of non-compliance from financial planners. TCF is a relatively new Financial Services requirement, and is meant to ensure that those who practice in the Financial Services Industry provide their clients with suitable products and services.
In the event of a dispute, it also requires Financial Service Providers to be able to prove they have delivered on the six TCF principals. Unfortunately, many FSPs are still in contravention. Recently I came across two such cases.
Mr. A suffered a serious heart attack and came very close to death. As required by his medical aid, the appropriate ambulance service was contacted and he was rushed to an approved hospital. However, there wasn’t a cardiologist on call at the approved hospital, and the doctors attending to him made a medical decision which they deemed to be in his best interest.
He was rushed to a second hospital where a cardiologist was waiting to treat him. On arrival, he was immediately admitted to surgery, which saved his life. After nearly a week in recovery, he was notified by his medical aid that the lifesaving surgery he received was not performed by a doctor listed on their panel.
Surely if a patient is unconscious or dying, they can’t be held accountable for receiving treatment from an unapproved doctor!
This case involves a funeral policy. The company in question advertised that their funeral benefits are paid out within 24 hours of a claim being submitted. What their advert failed to mention, was a turn-around time of 24 hours only applied to “Death by Natural Causes“.
In this case, death occurred when the life assured was murdered. Two weeks later, the claim is still pending because the detective assigned to the case has too much paperwork.
Two of the TCF outcomes companies must be able to prove are as follows:
- Ensuring a product performs in a manner a client has been led to believe it would. In instances where a service is being provided, companies are obligated to provide the service at an acceptable standard.
- Ensuring a client isn’t faced with unreasonable post-sale barriers, should they wish to change their product or service provider, or make a claim.
The financial services industry has been faced with many changes, and there are always a few who rebel against the new standards. Hopefully it won’t be very long before those who are non-compliant receive more than a slap on the wrist.