In its fight against money laundering and increase investor protection, new measures have been intro...
In its fight against money laundering and increase investor protection, new measures have been introduced by the Offshore Financial Trade Association (Ofta) to give companies and intermediaries more training in issues concerning the international marketplace.
According to Stephen Kerbel, director-general of Ofta, intermediaries are potentially vulnerable for litigation if money-laundering regulations are not followed properly, hence the scheme being introduced.
Ofta has now introduced a procedural manual on money laundering to help companies, especially smaller ones, who do not have the finance available to produce guides. The manual includes a comprehensive guide book, training, a process manual, and audit support.
Other initiatives launched throughout the year include the opening of a new division, the International Centre for Financial Training. Through it the group promotes the Chartered Insurance Institute"s international training, and the International Certificate for Financial Advisers to all members, especially those who lack qualifications relevant to the market.
It has also introduced a new higher-level qualification of professional standing, the International Broker Certificate, comprising the qualification provided by the Chartered Insurance Institute which is required for the registration of intermediaries by the UK Financial Services Authority, as well as a series of seminars specific to the marketing of, and advising about, offshore and international investment and life products. Around 23 students have been enrolled into the programme initially.
Kerbel said: "The certificate gives intermediaries additional training to practice in offshore markets - this includes seminars about residence, domicile, trusts, taxation, and international administration."
In its dispute resolution service that Ofta has introduced, participating members provide investors with a certificate linked to every new investment contract. This is called the Ofta Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Policy, and fully explains the dispute resolution service Ofta provides.
One of the aims of this certificate is to give investors more protection so they know the correct contact point if a problem ever arises.
In 2003 Ofta saw an increase in broker membership to 348 and received 685 enquiries. It also introduced the first members of the Ombudsman"s Commission. This includes Richard Tracey, chairman, Stuart Bazley, barrister and head of law at Edward Jones, and Bill Tatham, managing director of Towry Law.
In the last 12 months, Ofta received only 12 complaints which it could entertain under its term of reference. There were, however, a greater number of enquiries from potential complainants which never developed into formal complaints.
The majority of complaints concern alleged mis-sales where the client is sold a policy for a term longer than is appropriate.
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