Wheels of justice grind slowly

The latest decision by the FSB Appeal Board concerns a case where the Registrar debarred the appellant for a period of three years from rendering financial services in terms of Section 14A(1) of the FAIS Act.

Early in 2013, her employer became concerned about her conduct regarding certain policy applications. As a result, a forensic investigation was instigated.

It is important to follow the timelines contained in the Appeal Board decision to properly understand the process.

  • Early in 2013 – the employer, a life office, orders a forensic investigation
  • 9 April 2013 – an interim report is published
  • April 2013 – appellant tenders her resignation which is refused by the employer
  • 21 August 2013 – the final forensic report is published
  • 16 September 2013 – disciplinary hearing held
  • 18 September 2013 – appellant found guilty on all four counts
  • 30 September 2013 – her contract effectively terminated
  • 30 September 2013 – employer lays complaint against appellant with the FSB
  • 20 September 2014 – a notice of intent to debar is sent to the appellant
  • 22 October 2014 – the actual debarment notice is sent to the appellant
  • 28 October 2014 – appellant informs the Regulator of her intention to appeal
  • 19 November 2014 – FSB provides reasons for the debarment to the appellant
  • 31 July 2015 – appeal dismissed by Appeal Board.

This case is a very good example of how the debarment process works in practice. The life office involved needs to be commended for doing things by the book and ensuring that justice prevailed.

Unfortunately, the wheels of justice turn slowly.

Her service was terminated by her employer on 30 September 2013, but because due process had to be followed, she was only debarred on 22 October 2014.

Then, in view of her appeal, which she was fully entitled to, the final outcome was only confirmed on 31 July 2015, nearly two years later.

In cases such as these, the prescriptions of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, amongst others, have to be adhered to by the regulatory authorities.

The result is that she was, in the interim, employed in three other positions in the industry – two of these as a broker consultant and the other as a processing and compliance consultant – prior to the debarment finally being enforced.

In little more than a year, the debarment period will be over.

I am the last person in the world to begrudge anyone the right to justice, but if the cornerstone of regulation is the protection of consumers, the system needs to be reviewed.

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