Terms of Business (Client Agreement)
This Terms of Business (Client Agreement) letter explains the main aspects of the way we operate, and how this affects you, the client. It should be read in conjunction with our Combined Initial Disclosure Document, entitled "About Our Services and Costs". This Terms of Business Letter will come into force with immediate effect but may be amended by us following any initial interview intended to ascertain your current financial situation, objectives, and attitude to financial risk.
Any such amended Terms of Business Letter will be sent to you within 10 working days of that interview. However, we reserve the right to amend the terms of this letter without your consent but we will give at least 10 business days notice before conducting relevant business, unless we consider it to be impracticable to do so under the circumstances existent at that time.
Gerard Associates Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the United Kingdom. Our permitted business includes advising on and arranging investments, pensions and general insurance transactions, including life and health insurances.
For business transacted outside of the United Kingdom, some or all of the FSA regulatory system, including any complaints handling or compensation arrangements, will be different from that of the United Kingdom.
Our FSA number is 456234. You can check this on the FSA’s Register by visiting the FSA’s website www.fsa.gov.uk/register/ or by contacting the FSA on 0845 606 1234.
Our firm is independent and we offer products from the whole market. . When advising on investments, details of the services that we provide are set out in our Combined Initial Disclosure Document.
As intermediaries we never own any products you buy or transact through us. All purchases will be registered in the name(s) of the client(s) unless otherwise agreed in writing. We will forward to you all documents showing ownership of your purchases as soon as it is practical after we receive them. Where a number of documents relating to a series of transactions are involved, we may retain each document until the series is completed and then forward them to you. In some cases the documentation will be sent to you direct from the product provider. Where we provide investment advice on a non-packaged investment product, such as an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), Venture Capital Trust (VCT) or Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension (QROPS) you will not have post sale cancellation rights. However, you will have a period of at least seven days from the date you sign the application to withdraw from the agreement.
When making a detailed investment, pension or arranging an insurance contract, including life and health insurances, we will confirm your objectives and any restrictions on the types of product that you wish to buy, and explain why, having assessed your demands and needs, our recommendations are suitable for your individual circumstances in our suitability report.
Normally, we ask clients to give instructions in writing by completing the relevant application form and signing the appropriate declaration. Where you have a right to cancel your purchase, the product provider will give you notice of this in writing. You will be informed of any taxes or costs that may exist other than our fees, the period for which any illustrations are valid, and of the minimum duration of the contract. Our authority to act on a client’s behalf in accordance with these Terms of Business can be terminated at anytime by either side in writing, without prior notice and without penalty, effective from the date the notification is received. However, if transactions already initiated remain outstanding, the notification will only be effected once these have been completed.
When we have arranged a contract for which you have given instructions we will not give you any further advice unless you request it, but will contact you shortly before the contract expires to discuss its renewal, if appropriate. Alternatively, we will be glad to advise you, at any time you ask us to.
Commissions and Fees
Our income comes from either commission from the product providers we write business with or fees paid to us by our clients, or a combination of both. In line with standard industry practice, whenever commission is available to us, you can choose whether to pay us by allowing us to keep the commission or by paying us a fee instead, or a combination of both. We will tell you how much the commission is before the transaction. If you choose not to pay us by commission, we will charge you a fee, either at an agreed flat rate or an hourly rate. We will agree this fee with you in writing before we carry out any work that we will charge you for. We may also receive some form of benefit if we introduce business to a product provider or another firm. We will tell you before the transaction if we are likely to receive some form of benefit from recommending any product to you, or from working any product provider or firm. A further detailed explanation is available in the document entitled About Our Services and Costs.
All commission to be rebated to the client, in respect of any transaction arranged, is and will remain the property of this firm, until such time as, if previously agreed, all or part of that commission is refunded to the client. Interest on any such sums will not be payable unless agreed otherwise.
We do not handle clients’ money. We never accept a cheque made out to us (unless it is in settlement of fee charges for which we have sent you an invoice) nor handle cash.
UK Money Laundering Regulations
We are obliged to conform to the UK Money Laundering Regulations and to the guidance notes from the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group. This process may require sight of certain documentation to verify client identity and place of residence, and we may request clarification on how any monies being invested were obtained. If you provide false or inaccurate information and we suspect fraud or money laundering we will record this. We may not forward any applications or money to third parties/product providers until our verification requirements have been met, and we will take no responsibility for any resulting delay. In circumstances where sufficient verification is not received in a timely manner after we have received completed applications, the application(s) and any monies may be returned to you.
Information provided by you may be held, processed, disclosed and used by us, professional advisers and any associated companies in servicing our relationship with you. However, strict confidentiality will be maintained at all times. It is understood that, unless you notify us otherwise, you agree to the storage, use and disclosure of such information. This information may be disclosed to third party product providers in the course of providing our analysis and servicing of our relationship with you. No information will be passed to another party without your prior consent unless we are legally obliged to do so. You also agree that for the purposes described above your data may be transferred to countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA). We may use and analyse your data to provide you with information by post, telephone, fax or e-mail to service and update you, and inform you of new opportunities. If you would prefer to be excluded from these services, please write to us.
We will, if required by you or your agent, supply copies of contract notes, vouchers and copies of entries in books, records and computerised records relating to you. We undertake to maintain such records for a period of at least six years from the date of each transaction.
Complaints & Compensation
If you wish to register a complaint, please contact Gary Barlow in writing at 2nd Floor, 12 Fore Street, Tiverton. EX16 6Lh United Kingdom by telephone on 01884 250118 or by email. We will acknowledge the issue and send you a copy of our internal complaints procedure. The matter will be investigated in line with our procedures and our findings reported to you. If you cannot settle your complaint with us, you may be entitled to refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service. We confirm that in all our dealings concerning insurances, such as term assurance and private health insurance, you will be treated as a retail customer and that when dealing with investment contracts you will be treated as a private client. As such you will be afforded full rights to the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Law and Language
Where applicable, our dealings with you shall be governed by the law of England. All information, terms and conditions, policy documents and communications shall be in English.
Conflicts of Interest
In accordance with the rules of our regulator, The Financial Services Authority, we are prohibited from accepting any payment (commission or other non-monetary benefits), which is likely to conflict with the duty of the firm to its clients. We confirm we will disclose receipt of any non-monetary benefit if appropriate prior to our service being provided to you, and that any payment or receipt does not impair compliance with the firm’s duty to act in your best interests. We undertake not to transact for you, business in which we or one of our other customers or any director/partner/employee has a known interest, or we become aware that these interests conflict with yours, unless that interest is first disclosed in writing and your consent obtained.