Principles 6 (Customers' interests), 7 (Communications with clients), 8 (Conflicts of interest), 9 (Customers: relationships of trust) and 10 (Clients' assets) impose requirements on firms expressly in relation to their clients or customers. These requirements depend, in part, on the characteristics of the client or customer concerned. This is because what is "due regard" (in Principles 6 and 7), "fairly" (in Principles 6 and 8), "clear, fair and not misleading" (in Principle 7), "reasonable care" (in Principle 9) or "adequate" (in Principle 10) will, of course, depend on those characteristics. For example, the information needs of a general insurance broker will be different from those of a retail general insurance policyholder.
Principles 6, 8 and 9 and parts of Principle 7, as qualified by PRIN 3.4.1 R, apply only in relation to customers (that is, clients which are not eligible counterparties).4 The approach that a firm (other than for credit-related regulated activities in relation to which client categorisation does not apply)5 needs to take regarding categorisation3of clients into customers and eligible counterparties4 will depend on whether the firm is carrying on designated investment business or other activities, as described in PRIN 1.2.3 G.4 3 4 6
In relation to the carrying on of designated investment business, a firm's categorisation of a client under the COBS client categorisation chapter (COBS 3) will be applicable for the purposes of Principles 6, 7, 8 and 9.33
Client categorisation under COBS 3 or PRIN 1 Annex 1 is not relevant to credit-related regulated activities and therefore the guidance on client categorisation does not apply in relation to a credit-related regulated activity. The definitions of client and customer in relation to those regulated activities reflect the modified meaning of “consumer” in articles 36J, 39M, 60LA, 60S7 and 89E of the Regulated Activities Order, as well as the definitions of “individual” and of “relevant recipient of credit” in that Order.5
- (2) 3
In relation to carrying on activities other than designated investment business (for example, general insurance business or accepting deposits) the firm may choose to comply with Principles 6, 7, 8 and 9 as if all its clients were customers. Alternatively, it may choose to distinguish between eligible counterparties and customers in complying with those Principles. If it chooses to make such a distinction, it must comply with PRIN 1 Annex 1 in determining whether that client is an eligible counterparty (see PRIN 3.4.2 R). In doing so, the requirements in SYSC will apply, including the requirement to make and retain adequate records.3
In relation to carrying on activities that fall within both (1) and (3) (for example, mixed designated investment business and accepting deposits), a firm's categorisation of a client under the COBSclient categorisation chapter (COBS 3) will be applicable for the purposes of Principles 6, 7, 8 and 9.3
If the person with or for whom the firm is carrying on an activity is acting through an agent, the ability of the firm to treat the agent as its client under COBS 2.4.3 R3 (Agent as client) will not be available. For example, if a general insurer is effecting a general insurance contract through a general insurance broker who is acting as agent for a disclosed policyholder, the policyholder will be a client of the firm and the firm must comply with the Principles accordingly.3