Debarment proceedings time bar clarified

An interesting recent finding by the Financial Sector Tribunal sheds some light on how sec 14(5) of the Financial Sector Regulation Act 9 of 2017 should be interpreted.

The applicant applied for the reconsideration of his debarment under sec 14 of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Act 37 of 2002 by the respondent.

The original ground relied on, is that the applicant says that he resigned as representative on 16 April 2020 but was only debarred on 17 December. The applicant presumably has the provisions of sec 14(5) in mind which indicates that a debarment in terms of subsection (1) that is undertaken in respect of a person who no longer is a representative of the financial services provider must be commenced not longer than six months from the date that the person ceased to be a representative of the financial services provider.

However, as the applicant himself states, the debarment proceedings commenced on 25 June. The provision does not, accordingly, assist the applicant.

The applicant did not deal with the substantive fairness of the decision to debar him save for saying that he had settled with the complainant who withdrew the complaint.

The respondent attached emails from the applicant which reflected a different picture from the one the applicant had painted, including one in which the latter apologised for behaving in an unprofessional manner.

The applicant confirmed twice that this was his formal and final response to the debarment proceedings, which he had agreed to being decided on the papers.

The application for reconsideration was dismissed.

Perhaps a thorough reading of the just published Financial Services Tribunal Rules could alleviate the load on the Tribunal, especially insofar as frivolous applications go. Many of these are summarily dismissed, but they still take up time despite not having the faintest chance of succeeding.

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