The SAIS provides for corporate as well as individual membership. In addition, there are two categories of membership Affiliate and Associate, as well as various designations. The membership categories provide an indication of experience. Affiliate members have completed the requisite examinations for a designation, but do not have the required practice experience. Associates have completed both the requisite examinations and have the necessary practical experience. The designations relate to the area of specialisation in which the member is proficient.
In order to use the designations, members need to comply with the following requirements:
- Payment of annual membership fees;
- Comply with CPD hours; and
- Adhere to the Code of Conduct
SAIS Disciplinary Procedure
Members of the SAIS, including registered students, are bound by a Code of Conduct, the By-Laws and the Constitution of the Institute. Members and registered students are obligated and have a duty to uphold the integrity, good standing and reputation of the Institute. Members and registered students must refrain from any conduct that discredits the profession and brings the SAIS into disrepute. Regardless of the category of membership, both members and students must have regard for the Code of Conduct, the By-Laws and the Constitution of the SAIS, irrespective of their field of activity, their employment or any other professional memberships they may hold.
Any sanctions imposed on Members who are found guilty of misconduct are designed to uphold the guiding principles of the SAIS, namely:
- Protect the public.
- Maintain public confidence in the profession; and.
- Uphold proper standards of conduct in the profession.
Any sanctions imposed on Members who are found guilty of misconduct will be levied in accordance with the Disciplinary Procedure. The range of sanctions that may be imposed include:
- Severe reprimand;
- Conditional membership or conditional student registration;
- Suspension or cancellation of registration as a member or student; and /or
- Expulsion as a member or cancellation of a student's registration.
The member or registered student may also have to pay part or all of the costs of the proceedings (although this is not a sanction).
It must be kept in mind that the processes applied by the regulators in the profession take precedence.
Members, registered students and members of the public may lodge a complaint against a member or registered student. There is a Complaints Process that must be taken into consideration.
Disciplinary Procedure Information
The Regulatory Function of the SAIS
The SAIS only acts as an arbiter of members and registered students conduct in so far as it contravenes the Code of Conduct, the By-Law or the Constitution of the Institute.
The Institute exercises the function of a disciplinary body and not that of a civil court of law. Sanctions that are imposed are aimed at regulating the conduct of a member and although the Institute is not prohibited from doing so, it will in general, not entertain claims for damages suffered by a complainant as a result of the professional negligence of a member.
The Structure of the Disciplinary Process
The disciplinary process is based on a three-tiered structure comprising the following committees:
- Investigation and Prosecution Committee;
- Disciplinary Committee; and
- Appeals Committee.
- The Investigation and Prosecution Committee:
The Investigation and Prosecution Committee (IPC) consists of two members of the Institute plus one independent attorney who acts as the chairperson of the Committee. The IPC determines its own process and is mandated to take note of and investigate all alleged offences, acts of misconduct and breaches by members and affiliates falling under the jurisdiction of the Institute. The IPC has the authority to gather and order the production of all relevant information, records, books, documents (regardless of its form or format) and statements under oath, as well as to conduct professional evaluations and practice visits. The IPC is convened as necessary and depending on case load.
- The Disciplinary Committee
The Disciplinary Committee (DC) consists of either a retired judge of the High Court or Senior Counsel or a High Court admitted attorney or advocate with at least ten years’ experience in practice.
The DC is a more formal structure for dealing with complaints referred to it by the IPC, either for hearing of oral evidence or for consideration of more serious complaints that warrant the termination of a membership, together with such referrals to SARS and/or the Prosecuting Authorities as may be dictated by the facts of each individual case. The DC may also function as Appeals Committee for consideration of any appeals from the IPC.
The DC is convened as necessary and determines its own process as deemed relevant or necessary to the consideration of the matter.
The DC is not obliged to hear oral evidence on any matter and the complainant’s (founding) affidavit, the member’s answering affidavit and the complainant’s replying affidavit, together with such additional documents as the IPC may refer to the DC will constitute the initial record in front of the DC.
- The Appeals Committee
The Appeals Committee (AC) is convened as necessary and is mandated to act as the Independent Disciplinary Appeals Committee for members found guilty of an offence and/or misconduct by the Disciplinary Committee.
The Appeals Committee shall consider an appeal based on the record (or the relevant parts thereof) of the proceedings of the Disciplinary Committee. New evidence shall only be entertained at the discretion of the Tribunal and then only in exceptional circumstances.
The Tribunal may refer any matter back to the Disciplinary Committee together with such instructions as it may deem fit or it may vary and/or substitute the order of the Disciplinary Committee with any other as the AC may deem fit in the circumstances.
The SAIS recognises that a balance needs to be maintained between the interests of the complainant and the interests of members of the Institute. The complainant needs to be provided with a method of addressing unprofessional conduct on the part of a member. At the same time the Institute has to be mindful of the fact that in many instances, membership of a professional body may be a requirement and that suspension or termination of membership could negatively impact a member’s ability to earn an income.
In order to address this concern as well as ensure that complaints are dealt with as effectively as possible, the Institute subscribes to a formal disciplinary process that is modelled on the procedural requirements set forth in the rules of the High Court of South Africa, with the necessary modification to facilitate the disciplinary process. In order to lodge a complaint, the following steps need to be followed:
- Determining Jurisdiction:
Stockbrokers and/or Financial Market Professionals are often subject to the Rules and Codes of Conduct of exchanges and/or regulatory and/or controlling bodies, each having concurrent jurisdiction with regard to any professional misconduct.
The Institute will in general not consider a complaint where the conduct of the member relates to the alleged contravention of any of the Rules and/or Codes of Conduct of an exchange and/or regulatory and/or controlling body. In such an event the relevant body carries primary jurisdiction and the complaint is to be lodged and dealt with according to the applicable Rules and Code of Conduct regulating the disciplinary process.
The Institute may however take note of the outcome of any disciplinary process and then determine whether any action should be instituted by the SAIS.
- Determining Membership:
The SAIS must ascertain whether the Stockbroker and/or Financial Market Professional against whom the complaint is to be lodged is in fact a member of the Institute. The Institute will only be able to consider complaints against members who are in good standing.
This can easily be ascertained by directing a query to the membership department of the Institute. Queries may be directed to email@example.com. Please note that the membership department will only confirm membership and that no further particulars with regard to a member will be provided.
Complaints that do not reference the member’s membership number may be rejected or the consideration thereof delayed.
- Conduct Attributable to the Member:
Once the Stockbroker and/or Financial Market Professional has been properly identified and it has been confirmed that the Stockbroker and/or Financial Market Professional is in fact a member of the Institute, it will be considered whether the conduct can in fact be attributed to the member.
As an example, the member may be employed by a company with whom the complainant contracted for the provision of professional services. Should a dispute arise between the complainant and the company with regard to the processing of debit orders from the complainant’s bank account and which fall outside the control or influence of the member, then it will be a dispute between the complainant and the company that is not directly attributable to any misconduct by the member. In such an event the Institute will be limited in its ability to act against the member (if at all).
- Determine if the Conduct Relates to the Practice of the Member as a Stockbroker and/or Financial Markets Professional:
It must be determined whether the conduct of the member is linked to a contravention of any of the provisions of the Code of Conduct and/or Disciplinary Rules and/or Standards of the Institute or not. If not, then the Institute will generally not be able to consider the complaint as it will fall outside the scope of the responsibilities of the parties.
- Drafting of the Founding Affidavit Setting Out the Merits of the Complaint:
In order to facilitate dealing with complaints in a structured manner, the Institute’s committees rely to a large extent on the format and principles that arise from the civil practice and procedure of the High Courts of South Africa. The Institute requires that all complaints must be made:
- Under oath.
- In writing.
- In accordance with the guidelines set down by the disciplinary structures of the Institute from time to time.
- Formal Requirements for Complaints:
Please note that complaints that fail to comply with the set criteria will be rejected:
- A complaint shall be printed (or legibly typewritten) in black ink on white A4 paper.
- The complaint must be in the form of an affidavit. An affidavit has to be signed in front of a Commissioner of Oaths and conclude with a paragraph along the following lines:
“I hereby certify that the deponent states that he/she understands the content of this affidavit, confirms the content as true and correct and has no objection to taking the oath, the provisions as set out in Government Notice Number R1648 of August 1977, as amended, have been complied with.”
The content of the affidavit should be divided into paragraphs (including sub-paragraphs) which shall be consecutively numbered and shall, as nearly as possible, each contain a distinct allegation. Sufficient particularity should be provided to enable the opposite party to reply thereto.
Where reference is made to external documents, copies of the documents should as far as possible be attached to the affidavit and consecutively identified e.g. Annexure “A”, Annexure “B”, etc. It must be kept in mind that there may be a request to produce the original documents for inspection at a later date.
Should a document to which reference is made, be voluminous, the affidavit should indicate the specific areas which are reference or reproduced in relevant annexures.
Once the affidavit and its annexures are complete, all pages must be numbered on the top right-hand corner, from the first page to the last page (Bates numbering). This will assist in working with the document and to monitor that essential pages are not inadvertently lost or misfiled during the process.
Sufficient contact particulars must be provided to enable the SAIS to correspond with the complainant. At minimum, a cellular number and e-mail address are required. The preferred method of communication is by way of e-mail.
- Submission of the Complaint:
The following documents are to be submitted to the Institute:
- The Referral of Complaint and Undertaking by Complainant (IPC01A and IPC01B).
- The duly deposed to affidavit setting out the merits of the complaint.
The complaint may be scanned and submitted to the Institute as a black and white PDF document to: firstname.lastname@example.org