SAIFCharter works to the principle that it must manage conflicts of interest fairly between the interests of the Association and Company on one hand, and personal, professional and business interests of its shareholders/members on the other hand.
SAIFCharter’s policy is to take all reasonable steps to maintain and operate effective arrangements to identity and manage relevant conflicts.
The SAIFCharter Executive are responsible for ensuring that SAIFCharter’s controls and procedures are adequate to identify and manage any conflicts of interest. The operational oversight of this policy has been devolved to the Monitoring and Compliance Group, who will report to the SAIFCharter Executive on adherence to the policy on an annual basis.
The Monitoring and Compliance Group will work with shareholders in assisting with the identification and monitoring of actual and potential conflicts of interests and shareholders should seek guidance from the SAIFCharter Secretary in the first instance if they are unsure whether or not to make a disclosure.
This policy applies to all SAIFCharter Executive and Working Group members.
All SAIFCharter Executive members and SAIFCharter Working Group members have an obligation to act in the best interests of the Association and Company. Conflicts of interest may arise where shareholders place their personal interests before the interests of Golden Charter or SAIFCharter and where such personal interests influence the member’s business judgments, decisions or actions.
The purpose of this policy is to protect the integrity of the Company and the Associations’ decision-making processes, to enable shareholders to have confidence in Golden Charter and SAIFCharter’s integrity, and to protect the integrity and reputation of members.
Actual or potential conflicts may create problems. They can:
- inhibit free discussion;
- result in decisions or actions that are not in the interests of SAIFCharter or Golden Charter; and
- give the impression that Golden Charter or SAIFCharter have acted improperly.
The aim of this policy is to protect the Company, the Association and its shareholders from any implied or actual impropriety.
A conflict may exist even if no unethical or improper act or outcome results from it.
Declaration of interests
It is mandatory that all SAIFCharter Executive or SAIFCharter Working Group members declare any actual or potential conflicts of interest in connection with their role in the Association. A Conflicts of Interest form is provided for this purpose.
A shareholder’s role as a provider of funeral plans themselves is exempt, noting all shareholders have an inherent interest as Exclusive Sellers and subcontractors of Golden Charter.
Some examples of interests which must be declared are noted below (this list is not exhaustive):
- Shareholders or relatives and/or partners of shareholders who have business interests in third party companies who sell or promote a competitor’s funeral plans or any funeral planning product (such as Guaranteed Over-50s).
- Shareholders or relatives and/or partners of shareholders who have business interests in a competitor’s aggregator/price comparison website for funeral director services.
- A shareholder who has previously owned or worked for a third party company which sold or promoted a competitor’s funeral plans.
- A shareholder who has previously owned or worked for a funeral director services aggregator/price comparison company.
- A shareholder who has relatives and/ or partner who is a Golden Charter employee.
- A shareholder who is employed by or is on the Executive Committee of SAIF, SAIF Scotland, the NAFD or the IAFD or other trade body.
- A shareholder who is involved in a dispute with Golden Charter or SAIFCharter.*
The SAIF and SAIF Scotland representatives on the SAIFCharter Executive and the SAIFCharter Executive representative on the Golden Charter Trust will have their positions acknowledged and recorded as potential conflicts of interest.
If a shareholder is unsure when to declare a conflict, they should contact the SAIFCharter Secretary.
* Declarations of a conflict of interest which are due to a dispute should be declared via this process but will be noted confidentially with appropriate mitigating actions agreed upon.
In their role on the SAIFCharter Executive or Working Group members must act in the best interests of the Association and Company. This may be in direct conflict with their own business’ interests.
SAIFCharter Executive and Working Group members will be required to complete the Conflicts of Interest form, provided by the SAIFCharter office when they become a SAIFCharter Executive or Working Group member. Should changes occur to circumstances which could create a conflict members must complete the Conflict of Interest Declaration to declare any potential conflicts of interest.
Members must comply with this policy and with any recommendations made by Golden Charter or SAIFCharter upon disclosure of a conflict to ensure risks associated with the conflict are mitigated.
Members are reminded of their confidentiality obligations contained in their contract of appointment.
If a member fails to declare an interest, then they may be subject to removal from the SAIFCharter Executive or Working Group.
Register of Interests
Conflicts of Interest forms that confirm no conflict exists will be stored by the SAIFCharter office.
Declared interests will be recorded on SAIFCharter’s Register of Interests, which will be maintained and reviewed by the SAIFCharter Secretary and Monitoring and Compliance Group quarterly. If necessary, the register will be shared with the chairs of working groups ahead of meetings to allow the opportunity to register any potential interests on the forthcoming agenda.
The Register of Interests will record:
- Details of the individual who has disclosed the conflict
- The nature and extent of the conflict
- An outline of the discussion
- The actions taken to manage the conflict
- When the conflict starts (and ends, if appropriate)
Declared interests will be reviewed on an annual basis by the SAIFCharter Chairperson to ensure that the Register of Interests is up to date.
Management of Potential Conflicts of Interest
A shareholder should declare any conflict of interest at the earliest opportunity to the SAIFCharter Secretary and withdraw from any subsequent discussion. The same applies if the shareholder faces a conflict for any other reason. The shareholder may, however, participate in discussions from which the shareholder may indirectly benefit, for example where the benefits are universal to all users, or where the benefit is minimal.
For example, if a shareholder is themselves, or has a relative or friend who has business interest in a competitor’s aggregator/price comparison website for funeral director services, the shareholder should not be involved in decisions that directly affect development of the company’s aggregator website (localfuneral.co.uk).
The information that a shareholder provides will be processed in accordance with the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 2018. Data will be processed only to ensure that shareholders act in the best interests of SAIFCharter and Golden Charter. The information provided will not be used for any other purpose.