Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: If I am not sure if an investment business-related activity needs authorisation from the Commission can I ask you for advice?
Investment business is regulated under the provisions of the Financial Services (Jersey) Law 1998. Commission staff will be happy to provide general explanations of what activities that law covers. However, Commission staff cannot provide legal advice in respect of specific circumstances and if you are in any doubt as to the position you should seek advice from a lawyer qualified in Jersey law.
Q: Can you tell me what qualifies for Continuing Professional Development (“CPD”)?
The type of activity that may qualify for CPD purposes is set out in section 3.4 of the Codes of Practice for Investment Business.
However, given that CPD needs to be tailored to the specific needs of each employee, the Codes put the onus on the management of the ‘registered person’ (i.e., the licence holder) to determine what specific activity is suitable to be counted as CPD for any specific employee taking into account the employee’s job description, current duties, and future development needs. As a consequence, the Commission cannot endorse specific courses as qualifying for CPD purposes.
Q: How can I find out if an investment business is regulated by you?
Q: What can I do if I have a complaint against an investment business?
Q: What should I do if I think I was mis-sold an endowment policy?
The majority of cases of alleged mis-selling of endowment policies that the Commission has been made aware of occurred before the introduction of the Financial Services (Jersey) Law 1998 (the “FS(J)L”). The FS(J)L regulates firms that provide financial advice. Thus the giving of investment advice (including in relation to endowment policies) was not a regulated activity prior to the coming into effect of the FS(J)L. This means that the Commission cannot take action against Jersey-based firms for alleged cases of mis-selling that occurred before that date.
However, under the Codes of Practice for Investment Business (the “IB Codes”), which are applicable to financial advisers they are expected to fully investigate complaints that are made against them, even if the issue relates to something that happened before the FS(J)L. If you think that you were incorrectly advised to buy an endowment policy you should lodge a formal complaint with the firm that advised you. The Commission expects firms to take seriously complaints of mis-selling that are made against them. If individual complaints are substantiated, the Commission would expect firms to consider whether, as a matter of good business practice, they should offer compensation.
Under the IB Codes, when giving investment advice, firms should establish the customer's needs and risk appetite and explain why a particular investment is suitable. All this should be properly documented. Customers can play their part by ensuring that they explain their financial position and needs to the advisers they consult, and obtain adequate written explanation of why particular products are recommended for them and what the risks involved are. (Further information on using financial advisers can be found on the Commission’s Protect Your Money Website ‘Choosing a financial adviser’.)
Q: How do I apply for an investment business licence and what information is required?
The Commission welcomes applications from businesses wishing to operate in Jersey. The first step should be to contact the Senior Manager of Investment Business or, if he is unavailable, the Deputy Director of Insurance and Investment Business, to arrange a meeting and explain the type of activity that is being contemplated. The Director will be pleased to introduce division staff that would be involved in handling your application and, if successful, working with you once you obtained registration. The Director will also be pleased to explain both the licensing regime and the Commission’s approach to supervision of this industry sector.
Although Commission staff will be pleased to explain the regulatory regime, they cannot provide legal advice. Most potential applicants seek legal advice at the time of approaching the Commission, or at least prior to making formal application. If the applicant is a business new to operating in Jersey, the legal adviser would also be able to offer advice regarding the Island’s housing and labour regulations.
The Commission publishes various documents which you may like to read, or Commission staff will be pleased to explain them to you. Key documents include: the FS(J)L) Licensing Policy; the Policy Statement and Guidance Notes on Outsourcing; the IB Codes; and the Handbook for the prevention and detection of money laundering and the financing of terrorism for financial services business regulated under the regulatory laws. Most applicants find these documents clear and practical, reflecting existing good commercial and regulatory practice.
Once you are comfortable with the regime and have concluded that you want to progress a formal application, the Commission would be pleased to receive:
The Commission will acknowledge receipt of your application and begin assessing the application. This assessment includes looking at the fit and proper status of the applicants, the principals behind the business, and those principals who will be managing it. The Commission will take up regulatory references.
The Commission will keep you informed of the progress of your case and will revert to you for missing information or clarification if we find anything unclear. We aim to approve applications, or provide the reasons why we are unable to approve an application, within two weeks of receiving responses to our final queries. Overall, the normal time to progress a successful application is in the region of six weeks.