Under 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 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, prevent, and manage conflicts of interest, by:
The Directors fully support this initiative 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.
Conflicts of Interest appear in situations where our firm:
Conflicts of interest may therefore include but are not restricted to interests between:
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:
In order to ensure as fair treatment as possible for clients, our Best Execution Policy requires us to take all sufficient steps to achieve the best overall trading result for clients.
On some occasions client orders may have a material effect on the relevant securities price. In order to ensure our staff do not take advantage of the situation by dealing on their own account (Personal Account Dealing) or encourage a third party to deal, we operate a 'No front running' policy whereby client orders will always take priority. We regularly monitor business transactions in order to ensure we meet these requirements.
Our staff may buy, sell or hold the same investments as our clients. We control personal account deals by ensuring that all such deals are identified and where applicable approved by management prior to execution. Details of our procedures for this area are covered later in this document.
Staff are not allowed to accept gifts, entertainment or any other inducement from any person which might benefit one client at the expense of others when conducting investment business. Similarly our staff are not allowed to place undue pressure on clients to persuade them to trade through the firm to the extent that this gives rise to a conflict of interest between that client and another client.
We strive to ensure that the performance of multiple functions by relevant persons does not and is not likely to prevent those persons from discharging any particular functions soundly, honestly and professionally. Our policies concerning the segregation of duties within the firm and the prevention of conflicts of interest are laid out below.
We are aware that effective segregation of duties is an important element in the internal controls of a firm in the prudential context. In particular, it helps to ensure that no one individual is completely free to commit the firm's assets or incur liabilities on its behalf. Segregation also helps to ensure that the firm's senior management receives objective and accurate information on financial performance, the risks faced by the firm and the adequacy of its systems.
We ensure that, in general, no single individual has unrestricted authority to do all of the following:
Where we are unable to ensure the complete segregation of duties due to a limited staff base, we have adequate compensating controls in place including the frequent review of an area by relevant senior managers. The firm ensures that its relevant persons are aware of the procedures which must be followed for the proper discharge of their responsibilities.
All relevant staff who are open to a conflict of interest are paid a basic salary including those who hold key support areas such as compliance, finance and operations. This salary is not dependent on business performance. Relevant persons involved in the compliance function will not be involved in the performance of services or activities they monitor.
A bonus structure does exist which is linked to business performance, team performance or the individuals performance. This is at the discretion of the senior management and notified only on payment. In addition, we have implemented monitoring which includes reviewing of advice given to clients, the frequency of transactions and portfolio performance.
There may be occasions where we are not, in our opinion, reasonable confident that the risks of damage to the interests of the client will be prevented. Therefore as a last resort, where there is no other means of preventing or managing a conflict, we will disclose clearly, in writing, sufficient details, taking into account the nature of the client, to enable the client to make an informed decision with respect to the service in the context of which the conflict of interest arises.
This disclosure will also:
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.
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:
This policy will be assessed and reviewed on at least an annual basis.
It is an offence to profit from a financial transaction, either directly or indirectly, based on confidential information that someone is party to. This is often referred to as 'insider dealing' and is covered by the Market Abuse Directive. Whilst we may not deal in investments directly there may be occasions through the course of our business where a staff member may become party to confidential information.
Where this is the case, nobody within our firm (or third party outsourced partners) will:
The following procedures have been implemented to assist in reducing the risks associated in this area: