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SIFA 9.11 Information about the firm

SIFA 9.11.1G

You need to disclose certain information about your firm when you conduct investment business with or for private customers so as to ensure that they have adequate information.

SIFA 9.11.2G

The disclosure of information is relevant to any written communications that:

  1. (1)

    your firm publishes; or

  2. (2)

    your employees, agents, representatives, financial advisers and introducers use such as stationery, business cards, or other business documentation.

Why is it important for you to disclose the information?

SIFA 9.11.3G

Disclosing information about your firm ensures that your clients know who they are conducting business with, both the identity of the firm and the employee or representative of the firm. This is in line with Principle 7 (Communications with clients), which requires you to pay due regard to the information needs of your clients and communicate information to them in a way that is clear, fair and not misleading.

What information do you need to disclose?

SIFA 9.11.4G

When you conduct investment business with private customers you should take reasonable steps to ensure that they have been given adequate information about:

  1. (1)

    the identity of your firm and business address and telephone number;

  2. (2)

    employees or other agents of the firm; and

  3. (3)

    your firm's statutory status;

unless you have given the information to the client on a previous occasion and it is still up to date ( COB 5.5.3 R).

Which sections of the Handbook apply?

SIFA 9.11.5G
  1. (1)

    The rules and guidance on information about the firm: section 5.5 of COB.

  2. (2)

    A list of the information that you should include in your written communications: Table COB 5.5.5 E.

  3. (3)

    Statutory status disclosure: GEN 4.3.1 R & GEN 4 Annex 1. The rule has recently changed: see section 9.11.6 below.

SIFA 9.11.6G

Statutory status disclosure - changes to the rule

• When sending a letter or an email to a private customer you are required to disclose that your firm is "Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority".

If your firm is an appointed representative of a network then you are required to state "[Name of appointed representative] is an appointed representative of [firm] which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority".

Please note that the abbreviation FSA should no longer be used in this context.

You are likely to find it convenient to include the required disclosure on your letterhead.

The above rules came into force on 1 March 2003. Firms that are complying with the previous requirement have until 30 September 2004 to make the necessary changes.

Other considerations

SIFA 9.11.7G

If you give advice to a private customer about packaged products you are reminded of the additional disclosure requirements in COB 5.1 (Polarisation and status disclosure).

SIFA 9.11.8G

There are further considerations to take into account if you:

  1. (1)

    conduct overseas business for UK private customers ( COB 5.5.7 R); or

  2. (2)

    conduct business from an overseas place of business with overseas customers ( COB 5.5.8 G).

SIFA 9.11.9G

The following sections are also relevant:

•'Clear, fair and not misleading' - Chapter 9.2 of this Overview;

•'Polarisation' - Chapter 9.7 of this Overview; and

PRIN 2.1 in the Handbook.