Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
Composition and Scope
This code consists of two parts, the Code of Ethics and the Code of Professional Conduct. The Code of Ethics consists of statements expressing in general terms the ethical and professional ideals expected of all Members.
They are referred to and expanded on in the detailed guidance contained within the Code of Professional Conduct. A fundamental component of the Code of Professional Conduct is that the prospective client is dealt with face-to-face at some point during the engagement process.
The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct sets out the standards of ethical and professional conduct expected to be followed in particular situations.
This combined Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct does not define standards of professional conduct of a Full or Affiliate Member for the purposes of civil liability, or for statutory or other legal requirements. Compliance with the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct does not guarantee compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements and the association accepts no liability for any action taken by any Member either in complying with or not complying with this Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
Not all of these guidelines may be applicable to the Memberís activities or to those of their employees. The Member is therefore required to abide by those guidelines which are relevant to that Memberís activities.
The Member is obliged to determine what responsibilities it has in each professional relationship, including, for example, duties that arise in particular circumstances from a position of trust or confidence that the Member may have. Members are obliged to meet those responsibilities.
Ethical conduct is the hallmark of any profession. The Member owes duties to its clients, to the public, to other professionals and to other Members. These duties form the basis of the Code of Ethics, which specifies the minimum standards of ethical conduct expected of the Member.
For the purposes of the Code the term Member includes full and Affiliate Members, and where applicable, the Memberís employees, Memberís representatives and consultants (hereinafter referred to as Staff). The association will expect therefore that all Members make them aware of this Code and require that they comply with it.
Code of Ethics
Members must hold, where applicable, a valid Consumer Credit Licence, FSA authorisation and Data Protection Notification. The Member should not engage in any conduct or activity, the consequences of which would bring the profession, the debt solutions industry or the association into disrepute.
Members must comply with all legal and regulatory requirements from time to time in force Ė in particular, but not limited to:
All advice by the Member must be given honestly with full disclosure of relevant information and must always have regard to factors which might reflect adversely upon the Memberís integrity. The Member should conduct its affairs in accordance with not just the letter, but also the spirit, of the law.
Where the Member is not licensed to provide debt advice then this should be disclosed at the earliest opportunity and any party introduced to a licensed debt solution provider should have provided explicit consent for their personal data to be transferred to the preferred provider, whose legal name should have been disclosed at the same time.
The Member should be and be seen to be providing objective and independent services, where the Memberís interests are clearly subordinate to the best interests of the Memberís client. Any potential conflict of interest must always be disclosed at the earliest opportunity.
The Member should continuously try to maintain and improve the professional competence of its relevant Staff and should not undertake work in areas in which it is not competent unless it obtains advice and assistance from a competent practitioner in those areas.
Information acquired in the course of professional work should not be disclosed except where
The Member should never use, nor appear to use, such information for the advantage of itself or for that of a third party.
The Member should conduct its business with courtesy and consideration to all with whom it comes into contact in the course of professional work. It should seek to establish and maintain helpful relationships with Members of other professions or disciplines.
Code of Professional Conduct: Detailed Guidelines
The Code of Professional Conduct provides detailed guidance on how the Code of Ethics is translated into standards of professional conduct. These standards will be used by the association to assess the conduct of Member firms and their staff.
The Member must be honest and open in all dealings with their clients and must put their clientsí interest before their own. Integrity requires the Member to observe not only the letter, but also the spirit, of this Code.
Guidelines that relate to the principle of Integrity
Objectivity requires intellectual honesty and impartiality. It is an essential quality for any professional firm. Regardless of the particular service rendered, or the capacity in which the Member functions, the Member should protect the integrity of its work, maintain objectivity, and avoid subordination of its judgement, such that it would be in violation of this Code.
Guidelines that relate to the principle of Objectivity
The Member is competent only when one or more of its Staff has attained and maintained an adequate level of knowledge and skill, and applies that knowledge effectively in providing services to clients. Competence also includes the wisdom to recognise the limitations of that knowledge and when consultation or client referral is appropriate. A Member shall make a continuing commitment to learning and professional improvement for its Staff.
Guidelines that relate to the principle of Competence
The client by seeking the services of the Member may be interested in creating a relationship of trust and confidence with the Member. This type of relationship can only be built upon the understanding that information supplied to the Member or obtained by it will be confidential, except where that information is already in the public domain, is disclosed by another party or must be disclosed under a regulatory or legal obligation. In order to provide the contemplated services effectively and to protect the clientís privacy, the Member shall safeguard the confidentiality of such information.
Guidelines that relate to the principle of Confidentiality
For the purposes of this guideline, the use of client information as set out above, is improper whether or not it actually causes harm to the client.
Courtesy is treating others in the same fashion that one would wish to be treated and is an essential quality of any professional.
Guidelines that relate to the principle of Courtesy