6.1 Terms of Service
These Terms of Business set out the general terms under which our firm will provide business services to you and the respective duties and responsibilities of both the firm and you in relation to such services. Please ensure that you read these terms thoroughly and if you have any queries we will be happy to clarify them. If any material changes are made to these terms we will notify you.
Authorisation with the Central Bank of Ireland
Guardian Financial Services Limited T/A Guardian Financial Advisors (hereinafter referred to as GFA)is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland as an insurance intermediary registered under the Insurance Distributive Directive (Directive 2016/97/EU),the European Communities (Insurance Mediation) Regulations, 2005 and as an Investment Intermediary authorised under the Investment Intermediaries Act, 1995. Copies of our regulatory authorisations are available on request. The Central Bank of Ireland holds registers of regulated firms. Our Registration Number is C2175. You may contact the Central Bank of Ireland on 1890 777 777 or alternatively visit their website at www.centralbank.ie to verify our credentials.
GFA are dedicated to providing quality, pragmatic financial advice, financial coaching and financial planning to our clients based on transparency and integrity. Our aim is to provide smart, value for money financial solutions tailored individually for the circumstances and needs of each of our clients.
CODES OF CONDUCT
GFA is subject to the Consumer Protection Code, Minimum Competency Code and Fitness & Probity Standards which offer protection to consumers. These Codes can be found on the Central Bank’s website www.centralbank.ie
GFA acts as a Financial Broker and, as such, we must be in a position to place insurance with at least five insurers and therefore can generally give consumers greater choice than agents and tied agents.
Our principal business is to provide lifestyle financial planning and coaching, wealth management and preservation, and retirement and estate planning advice to individual and small businesses. We also may arrange transactions on behalf of clients in relation to investments, pensions and life assurance products. A full list of insurers, product producers and bank deposit providers with whom we hold agencies is listed at the end of this document.
GFA acting as a Financial Broker means that:-
1) The principal regulated activities of the firm are provided on the basis of a fair analysis of the market; and
2) You have the option to pay in full for our services by means of a fee.
The concept of fair analysis is derived from the Insurance Mediation Directive. It describes the extent of the choice of products and providers offered by an intermediary within a particular category of life assurance, general insurance, mortgages, and/ or a specialist area. The number of contracts and providers considered must be sufficiently large to enable an intermediary to recommend a product that would be adequate to meet a client’s needs. The number of providers that constitutes ‘sufficiently large’ will vary depending on the number of providers operating in the market for a particular product or service and their relative importance in and share of that market. The extent of fair analysis must be such that could be reasonably expected of a professional conducting business, taking into account the accessibility of information and product placement to intermediaries and the cost of the search. In order to ensure that the number of contracts and providers is sufficiently large to constitute a fair analysis of the market, we will consider the following criteria:
GFA provides all products on a fair analysis basis i.e. providing services on the basis of a sufficiently large number of contracts and product producers available on the market to enable us to make a recommendation, in accordance with professional criteria, regarding which contract would be adequate to meet your needs.
We will provide assistance to you for any queries you may have in relation to the policies or in the event of a claim during the life of the policies and we will ensure the product provider makes available to you the various restrictions, conditions and exclusions attached to your policy. However, it is your responsibility to read the policy documents, literature and brochures to ensure that you understand the nature of the policy cover; particularly in relation to PHI and serious illness policies.
Specifically on the subject of permanent health insurance policies it is our policy to explain to you a) the meaning of disability as defined in the policy; b) the benefits available under the policy; c) the general exclusions that apply to the policy; and d) the reductions applied to the benefit where there are disability payments from other sources.
For a serious illness policy, we will explain clearly to you the restrictions, conditions and general exclusions that attach to that policy.
The suitability of all financial products depends on many factors and we will consider all relevant information before recommending any product to you. In order for us to fully assess your financial needs it is important that you provide all relevant information to us. If you do not do so the advice we provide may not be as suitable had the full information been provided. Before purchasing any product you will be advised of the product’s suitability and given a statement of reasons why, in our opinion, the product is suitable for your needs. All advice given will be based on our understanding of current law and Revenue practice. It may be that subsequent changes might affect the recommendations that have been made and these may need to be reviewed as a result. You may wish to contact us for a further financial review in that event.
DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION
Any failure to disclose material information may invalidate your claim and render your policy void.
Claims should be advised to the insurer when the claim arises. The insurer will advise you of its claims requirements and provide you with a copy of its claims process on request. If you experience any difficulty with the insurer’s claims process you should contact us.
PRODUCT PROVIDER SECURITY
We seek insurance and investment contracts for you from Institutions with which we hold a written appointment and from which we consider offer an appropriate product to meet the needs identified. We cannot and do not guarantee the solvency or continuing solvency of any Institution used and you should note that the financial position of an Institution can change at any stage. A list of all institutions with whom we hold written appointments from are detailed on Appendix I below.
We may charge you a fee for services provided instead of, or in conjunction with, commission and other payments from financial institutions to which we transmit orders on your behalf. With your consent, we may refer you to other entities regulated to provide financial services in the State. We may receive remuneration in return for such referrals.
We may receive commission and other remuneration from financial institutions with which we hold an appointment from. We may accept additional commission and remuneration from such financial institutions related to the volume of business we place with that financial institution. Commissions payable to us in relation to arranging certain life assurance, pension policies and PRSA’s are disclosed in a Disclosure Notice provided to you at the point of sale and/or at the cooling off stage.
If we have arranged for your fee to be offset by commissions derived from a product which you subsequently cancel or cease to pay, and in consequence we are obliged to refund commissions paid to us, we reserve the right to charge you a fee to reimburse us for the amount of commission refunded.
You or we may terminate our authority to act on your behalf with immediate effect at any time, but the termination must be communicated in writing (to us at our usual business address) and cannot be backdated. The termination will be without prejudice to the completion of any transactions already initiated and you remain responsible for the payment of any fees and expenses incurred up to the date of termination, or to the date of completion of any transactions in progress, whichever is the later.
You may choose to pay in full for our services by means of a fee. Our standard fees are charged at a rate of €200 per hour plus VAT (if applicable). Alternatively, we may agree a flat or alternative fee structure with you depending on the service you have asked us to provide. Additional fees may be payable for complex cases or to reflect value, specialist skills or urgency. All fees will be agreed with you in advance. Where we receive recurring commission, this forms part of the remuneration for initial advice provided. In the event that you choose to pay in full for our services by means of a fee, if we receive commission from a product provider, this will be offset against the fee which we will charge you. Where the commission is greater than the fee due, the commission will become the amount payable to the firm unless an arrangement to the contrary is made.
We have listed on Appendix II below a sample of fees we charge for certain specialist services.
It is in your best interests that you review, on a regular basis, the products which we have arranged for you. As your circumstances change, your needs will change. You must advise us of those changes and request a review of the relevant policy so that we can ensure that you are provided with up to date advice and products best suited to your needs. Failure to contact us in relation to changes in your circumstances or failure to request a review may result in you having insufficient insurance cover and/or inappropriate investments.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
It is the policy of our firm to avoid conflicts of interest in providing services to you. However, where an unavoidable conflict of interest arises we will advise you of this in writing before providing you with any service.
DEFAULT ON PAYMENTS BY CLIENTS
Our firm will exercise its legal rights to receive payments due to it from clients for services provided. Product producers may withdraw benefits or cover in the event of default on payments due under policies of insurance or other products arranged for you. We would refer you to policy documents or product terms for the details of such provisions
We ask that you make any complaint against our firm, relating to services provided by us, in writing. We will acknowledge your complaint in writing within 5 business days and we will fully investigate it. On completion of our investigation, we will provide you with a written report of the outcome. In the event that you are still dissatisfied with our handling of or response to your complaint, you are entitled to refer the matter to the Financial Services Ombudsman or the Pensions Ombudsman. A full copy of our complaints procedure is available on request.
PROVISION OF INFORMATION VIA DURABLE MEDIUM
In order to keep costs to a minimum and to preserve our precious environment by avoiding excessive use of paper it is our policy wherever possible to provide you with all relevant pre and point of sale information for any product we recommend and supply via a durable medium (i.e.email or link to product manufacturer website). We shall assume you are happy to consent to this means of communication unless you advise us by email to the contrary.
Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (“SFDR”)
The European Commission’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) obligations (Regulation (EU) 2019/2088) introduces additional disclosure obligations for manufacturers of financial products and impacted financial advisers toward end-investors. The Regulations require impacted firms to integrate sustainability into their investment processes and if appropriate to consider the adverse impacts of their investments on sustainability factors.
Sustainability Factors – Investment/IBIPS/Pension Advice
In accordance with these new SFDRs as they relate to impacted Financial Advisors in the Republic of Ireland, our Firm, when providing advice, does not consider the adverse impacts of investment decisions on sustainability. It does not intend to consider such impacts in the foreseeable future. Any change in our policy at a future time will be reflected in this document (and on our website in our Terms of Business section).
DATA PROTECTION PRIVACY STATEMENT
We are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. We wish to be transparent about how we process your data and to ensure that you understand your data protection rights. Please read this Privacy Statement carefully. It sets out the basis by which any personal data we collect from you or that you provide to us, will be processed by us, as Data Controller. By using this website, you signal your express acceptance of this Privacy Statement. If you do not agree with or you are not comfortable with any aspect of this Privacy Statement, your only remedy is to discontinue use of the website.
GFA are dedicated to providing quality, pragmatic financial advice, financial coaching and financial planning to private individuals and small business owners and their families based on transparency and integrity.
Why we collect personal information from you?
As a client or potential client of GFA we may process your data for a number of reasons:
GFA respects your right to privacy and will not collect any personal information about you without your clear knowledge and permission. Any personal information which you provide to us will be treated strictly in accordance with Irish Data Protection Law and with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) to become known as the Data Protection Acts 1988-2018. Where data is submitted it will be used for the stated purpose and any reasonably incidental purposes only. We do not sell or distribute your personal information to third parties for purposes of allowing them to market products and services to you.
What personal information do we collect from you?
To enable us to provide you with appropriate financial planning advice and services we will require you to complete a detailed Financial FactFind Form and an Income and Expenditure Financial Report as well as in certain cases a Goals and Aspirations Form. Where you decide to propose for a financial product or service provided by a Product Provider with whom we hold an agency agreement, you will be required to complete whatever application forms they require which we will forward to them on your behalf.
We require your name so that we can personalise our communications to you. We require your email address so that we can communicate with you. If you do not want to receive any further notifications from us, you can unsubscribe by emailing us at: email@example.com or by calling us on 086-2541272.
How do we collect your personal information?
The information we collect comes primarily from forms we will email to your provided address as well as phone calls. Information may also be collected through your use of this website in the form of ‘cookies’.
Who we share your information with
We do not share your information with third parties other than as set out in this Policy. We work with other companies who help run our business and provide products and/or services to you (“Product Providers”). We are required to send information securely to our Product Providers, who are defined as Data Processors, to perform the services you require.
How long will we retain your data for?
GFA will only hold your personal information for the duration necessary to allow us to provide the services that you have requested or for any additional period as required for legal and regulatory purposes.
Your rights in relation to your personal information
You have the right to request:
We will accede to any such valid requests within 30 calendar days of the receipt of a valid request in writing. Please send all requests in writing to Guardian Financial Services Ltd., 33 Simmonscourt Square, Ballsbridge, Dublin D04 T6V6 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We reserve the right to request you to provide additional information to enable us to identify your personal data and/or to verify your identity.
We take our security responsibilities seriously, employing the most appropriate physical and technical measures.
Governing Law and Jurisdiction
This legal notice and all issues regarding this website are governed exclusively by Irish law and are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Irish courts.
Delay or failure on our part in enforcing any of our rights shall not constitute a waiver by us of our rights and remedies. If any part of this Privacy Notice is held to be invalid or unenforceable, the validity or enforceability of the remainder will not be affected.
Any queries or complaints concerning the collection or use of your personal data should be sent to: Managing Director, Guardian Financial Services Ltd., 33 Simmonscourt Square, Ballsbridge, Dublin D04 T6V6 or email@example.com. You have the right to lodge a complaint with the Data Protection Commissioner (www.dataprotection.ie) about the processing of your personal data.
Changes to this Privacy Statement
We reserve the right to modify this statement at any time. Each time you use this website you shall be bound by the then current Privacy Statement and accordingly you should review the Privacy Statement each time you visit the website. This Privacy Statement was last updated on 24 May 2018.
We are members of the Investor Compensation Scheme operated by the Investor Compensation Company Ltd. See below for details.
INVESTOR COMPENSATION SCHEME
The Investor Compensation Act, 1998 provides for the establishment of a compensation scheme and the payment, in certain circumstances, of compensation to certain clients (known as eligible investors) of authorised investment firms, as defined in that Act.
The Investor Compensation Company Ltd. (ICCL) was established under the 1998 Act to operate such a compensation scheme and our firm is a member of this scheme. Compensation may be payable where money or investment instruments owed or belonging to clients and held, administered or managed by the firm cannot be returned to those clients for the time being and where there is no reasonably foreseeable opportunity of the firm being
able to do so. A right to compensation will arise only:-
– If the client is an eligible investor as defined in the Act; and
– If it transpires that the firm is not in a position to return client money or investment instruments owned or belonging to the clients of the firm; and
– To the extent that the client’s loss is recognised for the purposes of the Act.
Where an entitlement to compensation is established, the compensation payable will be the lesser of:-
– 90% of the amount of the client’s loss which is recognised for the purposes of the Investor Compensation Act, 1998; or
– Compensation of up to €20,000.
APPENDIX I – LIST OF PRODUCT PRODUCERS
Life and Pensions: Irish Life, New Ireland, Zurich Life, Aviva Life and Pensions including Friends First, Phoenix, Standard Life, Royal London, Acorn Life, Pulse Insurance(UK)
Deposits/ Investments: All of the above and additionally: Davy Select, Conexim, Quilter Cheviot, BCP Asset Management, Merrion Capital, Wealth Options, Wealth Options Capital, Cantor FitzGerald Stockbrokers Ltd, Bespoke Investments.
APPENDIX II – CHARGES FOR OTHER SERVICES MAY BE LEVIED AS FOLLOWS:
iii. Broker Switch / Alteration: As per (ii) Cancelled Policy above.
Please note that the provision of this Mediation service does not currently require licensing, authorization or registration with the Central Bank of Ireland and, as a result, is not covered by the Central Bank of Ireland’s requirements designed to protect consumers or by a statutory comp