News & Events

Non-Face to Face Interaction Guidance (COVID-19)

Wed Mar 18 2020

With the unprecedented outbreak of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and the impact this is having on client dealings, specifically not being able to meet with clients/prospective clients, Brokers Ireland have drafted a brief guidance document to remind members on what they should be doing, at a minimum, when dealing with their clients/prospective clients non-face to face.

1. Distance Marketing rules will continue to apply. Refer EC (Distance Marketing of Consumer Financial Services) Regulations 2004. These rules apply to consumers acting for purposes of their own personal insurance, e.g. home insurance, motor insurance, pension, term assurance etc. For more information, see “Appendix 7- Information to be given by the supplier before entering into a distance marketing contract for the supply of a financial service” saved in the Brokers Ireland website; Members Area/Compliance section/Procedures Manual/Appendices.

2. Brokers should follow their usual compliance procedures i.e. provide a Terms of Business letter, Distance Marketing notice, complete a Factfind/Statement of Fact, ensure proposal forms are completed and signed, issue IPID, and statement of suitability, for example. In respect of life/pensions, brokers should endeavour to have clients/prospective clients certify the accuracy of the information.

3. When communicating by email, firms should make sure they have a process in place that will ensure all relevant documentation is provided to/received from clients/prospective clients, with appropriate sign-off. This may include where forms are signed electronically. If possible, forms should be printed off and signed by the client/prospective client, scanned and returned by email. If the client/prospective client does not possess a printer/scanner the broker may need to verify from the insurer/lender if they will accept electronic signature. In these situations, firms should seek additional sources of client/prospective client ID verification.

4. Mortgage, investment and life brokers should be familiar with the requirement set down in the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act in relation to non-face-to-face transactions. The extent of the customer due diligence in respect of non-face-to-face client/prospective clients will depend on the type of product or service requested and the assessed money laundering risk presented by the customer. Where the client/prospective client is not physically present (eg. by post, telephone or over the internet) for identification purposes, additional measures should be undertaken to establish the client’s/prospective client’s identity. Examples of additional measures include:

Telephone contact with the client/prospective client prior to the commencement of the business relationship on a home or business number which has been verified (electronically or otherwise) or a welcome call to the client/prospective client before the business relationship starts, using it to verify additional aspects of personal identity information that have been previously provided during the setting up of the account;

Communicating with the client/prospective client at an address that has been verified (such verification may take the form of a direct mailing of bank account documentation to the client/prospective client which, in full or in part, may be required to be returned, completed or acknowledged without alteration);

Verify information on documents received, e.g. in relation to a utility bill forwarded; cross check against a bank statement narrative relating to entries from the utility bill provided or cross check salary details appearing on a recent bank or building society statement verifying the individual‘s employer as previously notified.

In respect of the continuation of financial services to consumers, the Central Bank expects firms to have contingency plans in place with regards to dealing with major operational events should they occur. Below is a link to the statement made by the Central Bank with regards to Covid-19:https://www.centralbank.ie/news/article/press-release-statement-covid-19-3-march-2020

For all Compliance queries please email compliance@brokersireland.ie

Brokers Ireland has been in receipt of a number of queries from members which we will endeavor to get answered. If you have any queries that you wish to have answered by company representatives, please contact rachel@brokersireland.ie (Financial Services) and cathie@brokersireland.ie (General Insurance) by lunchtime tomorrow.

We will be sending out a comprehensive circular to our members this Friday based on queries received.