Terms of Business – Version 11.9 Effective from November 2022
Gold Seal Financial Services Ltd Trading as Gold Seal Financial Brokers.
These Terms of Business set out the general terms under which our firm will provide business services to you and the respective duties and responsibilities of both the firm and you in relation to such services. Please ensure that you read these terms thoroughly and if you have any queries, we will be happy to clarify them. If any material changes are made to these terms, we will notify you.
Authorisation with the Central Bank of Ireland
Gold Seal Financial Services Ltd Trading as Gold Seal Financial Brokers C44414 is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland as an insurance intermediary registered under the European Union (Insurance distribution) Regulations, 2018; as an Investment Intermediary authorised under the Investment Intermediaries Act, 1995. Copies of our regulatory authorisations are available on request. The Central Bank of Ireland holds registers of regulated firms. You may contact the Central Bank of Ireland on 1890 777 777 or alternatively visit their website at www.centralbank.ie to verify our credentials.
Codes of Conduct
Gold Seal Financial Services Ltd. is subject to the Consumer Protection Code, Minimum Competency Code and Fitness & Probity Standards which offer protection to consumers. These Codes can be found on the Central Bank’s website www.centralbank.ie
Gold Seal Financial Services Ltd. is a member of Brokers Ireland.
Our principal business is to provide advice and arrange transactions on behalf of clients in relation to life & pensions products. A full list of insurers, product producers and deposit agencies with which we deal is available on request.
Fair and Personal Analysis
The concept of fair and Personal analysis describes the extent of the choice of products and providers offered by an intermediary within a particular category of life assurance, general insurance, mortgages, and/ or a specialist area. The number of contracts and providers considered must be sufficiently large to enable an intermediary to recommend a product that would be adequate to meet a client’s needs.
The number of providers that constitutes ‘sufficiently large’ will vary depending on the number of providers operating in the market for a particular product or service and their relative importance in and share of that market. The extent of fair analysis must be such that could be reasonably expected of a professional conducting business, taking into account the accessibility of information and product placement to intermediaries and the cost of the search.
In order to ensure that the number of contracts and providers is sufficiently large to constitute a fair and personal analysis of the market, we will consider the following criteria:
- the needs of the customer,
- the size of the customer order,
- the number of providers in the market that deal with brokers,
- the market share of each of those providers,
- the number of relevant products available from each provider,
- the availability of information about the products,
- the quality of the product and service provided by the provider,
- cost, and
- any other relevant consideration.
Investment Intermediary Services
Gold Seal Financial Services is remunerated by commission for its investment intermediary services
Insurance based Investment Products
We are remunerated by commission for the advice we provide on our insurance-based investment products.
Life & Pensions & Life Wrapped Investments
Gold Seal Financial Services Ltd. provides life assurance and pensions on a fair and personal analysis basis i.e. providing services on the basis of a sufficiently large number of contracts and product producers available on the market to enable us to make a recommendation, in accordance with professional criteria, regarding which contract would be adequate to meet your needs.
We will provide assistance to you for any queries you may have in relation to the policies or in the event of a claim during the life of the policies and we will explain to you the various restrictions, conditions and exclusions attached to your policy. However, it is your responsibility to read the policy documents, literature and brochures to ensure that you understand the nature of the policy cover; particularly in relation to PHI and serious illness policies
Specifically, on the subject of permanent health insurance policies it is our policy to explain to you a) the meaning of disability as defined in the policy; b) the benefits available under the policy; c) the general exclusions that apply to the policy; and d) the reductions applied to the benefit where there are disability payments from other sources.
For a serious illness policy, we will explain clearly to you the restrictions, conditions and general exclusions that attach to that policy.
Sustainability Factors – Investment/IBIPs/Pension Advice
In accordance with the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (‘SFDR’), we inform you that when providing advice on insurance-based investment products/Investments, we assess, in addition to relevant financial risks, relevant sustainability risks as far as this information is available in relation the products proposed/advised on. This means that we assess environmental, social or governance events/conditions that, if they occur, could have a material negative impact on the value of the investment.
We integrate these risks in our advice in the following way:
We review product provider literature in relation to sustainability risks, we liaise with the providers in relation to any queries in relation to the funds. This information is reviewed by the firm on an ongoing basis.
Considering Principal Adverse Impacts on sustainability factors in the advice:
When providing advice on insurance-based investment products (‘IBIPs’) or investment advice we assess the PAI information published by product manufacturers as follows:
The firm will examine the Product Providers literature to establish the Principal Adverse Impacts for the relevant products. The firm will then compare financial products across available providers to make informed investment decisions about the suitability of ESG products for individual clients.
Impact on Return
We have not assessed the likely impacts of sustainability risks on the returns of Investment/Pensions since we have not been able to identify any sustainability risks that are relevant. This is based and guided on by the sustainability risk information provided in the product documentation provided by the product provider.
Disclosure of Information
Any failure to disclose material information may invalidate your claim and render your policy void.
Statement of Charges
We may earn our remuneration on the basis of fee, commission and any other type of remuneration, including a non-monetary benefit or on the basis of a combination of these methods. A non-monetary benefit will only be accepted if it enhances the quality of the service to our clients.
You may choose to pay in full for our services by means of a fee. Where we receive recurring commission, this forms part of the remuneration for initial advice provided. We reserve the right to charge additional fees if the number of hours relating to on-going advice/assistance exceeds 2hrs.
Sustainability Factors- Investments/IBIPs/Pension Advice
We take due care so that our internal remuneration policy with respect to investment or insurance advice on insurance-based investment products (‘IBIPs’) promotes sound and effective risk management in relation to sustainability risks and does not encourage excessive risk‐taking with respect to sustainability risks.
When assessing products, we will consider the different approach taken by product providers in terms of them integrating sustainability risks into their product offering. This will form part of our analysis for choosing a product provider.
A summary of the details of all arrangements for any fee, commission other reward or remuneration paid or provided to us which have agreed with product providers is available in our office or on our website – www. goldseal.ie
In certain circumstances, it will be necessary to charge a fee for services provided. These are listed below for life, pensions & investments, and Standard PRSAs. In other circumstances where fees are chargeable or where you choose to pay in full for our service by fee, we will notify you in writing in advance and agree the scale of fees to be charged if different from fees outlined below. Where it is not possible to provide the exact amount, we will provide you the method of calculation of the fee.
If we receive commission from a product provider, this may be offset against the fee which we will charge you. Where the commission is greater than the fee due, the commission may become the amount payable to the firm unless an arrangement to the contrary is made.
Life, Pensions & Life wrapped Investment Fees
You may elect to deal with us on a fee basis. Fees are charged on an hourly basis for services rendered and will reflect the seniority of the individual employee providing the advice or service.
The current charge out rates is as follows:
Principles / Directors €250 - €350 per hour
Support staff €100 - €150 per hour
These rates will be reviewed from time to time and you will be notified of any changes implemented to the above. Additional fees may be payable for complex cases or to reflect value, specialist skills or urgency. Our scale of fees for such cases ranges from a minimum of €150 per hour to a maximum of €350 per hour. We will give an estimate of this rate in advance of providing you with services Note: Fees may be liable to V.A.T
Group Schemes, Executive Pensions, Personal Pensions, PRSAs
Level model: Up to 5% on annual contribution.
Initial and Renewal model: Up to 25% of initial contribution.
Standard annual fund renewal fee of 0.5% may also apply.
Where advice is requested for PRSAs, the following hourly fees will apply:
Advisor fees: €200 - €300 per hour
Support Staff: €70 - €100 per hour
Buy out Bond
Single Contributions: Up to 5% of contribution.
Standard annual fund renewal fee of 0.5% may also apply. Additional fees may be payable for complex cases or to reflect value, specialist skills or urgency.
2% – 5% of the amount Invested.
2% – 5% of amount invested and standard annual renewal fee of 0.5% may apply.
Term Assurance, Mortgage Protection, Specified Illness and Income Protection: Up to 220% of initial year premium and renewal fee may apply.
2% – 5% of investment amount and standard annual fund renewal fee of 0.5% may apply.
Up to 25% of initial year contribution and standard annual fund renewal fee of 0.5% may apply.
0.25% – 0.5% per annum of deposit amount.
If we receive commission from a product provider [and off-set the commission against the fee which we would otherwise have charged you] but the commission is subsequently clawed-back by the provider because of early encashment by you or because of the transferring of the assets or business to another provider or in any circumstances consequent on your actions or omissions, we will charge a fee to you that is equal to [100% of] the clawed-back commission. That fee will be owing in simple contract upon the claw-back of the commission.
Ongoing Suitability: Investments
The firm’s services do not include ongoing suitability assessments. We do provide ongoing advice and service to our clients alongside the annual statements provided directly by the product providers.
Insurance Based Investment Products
We will provide periodic assessments of suitability of the Insurance based Investment product which we have recommended to you.
It is in your best interests that you review, on a regular basis, the products which we have arranged for you. As your circumstances change, your needs will change which may result in you having insufficient insurance cover and/or inappropriate investments. We would therefore advise that you contact us to ensure that you are provided with up-to-date advice and products best suited to your needs.
Conflicts of interest
It is the policy of our firm to avoid conflicts of interest in providing services to you. However, where an unavoidable conflict of interest arises, we will advise you of this in writing before providing you with any service. A full copy of our conflicts of interest policy is available on request.
Default on payments by clients
Our firm will exercise its legal rights to receive payments due to it from clients (fees and insurance premiums) for services provided. In particular, without limitation of the generality of the foregoing, the firm will seek reimbursement for all payments made to insurers on behalf of clients where the firm has acted in good faith in renewing a policy of insurance for the client.
Product producers may withdraw benefits or cover in the event of default on payments due under policies of insurance or other products arranged for you. We would refer you to policy documents or product terms for the details of such provisions.
Mortgage lenders may seek early repayment of a loan and interest if you default on your repayments. Your home is at risk if you do not maintain your agreed repayments.
Whilst we are happy to receive verbal complaints, it would be preferable that any complaints are made, in writing. We will acknowledge your complaint within 5 business days and we will fully investigate it. We shall investigate the complaint as swiftly as possible, and, the complainant will receive an update on the complaint at intervals of not greater than 20 business days starting from the date on which the complaint is made. On completion of our investigation, we will provide you with a written report of the outcome. In the event that you are still dissatisfied with our handling of or response to your complaint, you are entitled to refer the matter to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO). A full copy of our complaint’s procedure is available on request.
Gold Seal Financial Services Ltd are subject to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and the Irish Data Protection Act 2018.
Gold Seal Financial Services Ltd. is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. We wish to be transparent on how we process your data and show you that we are accountable with the GDPR in relation to not only processing your data but ensuring you understand your rights as a client.
The data will be processed only in ways compatible with the purposes for which it was given and as outlined in our Data Privacy Notice; this will be given to all our clients at the time of data collection.
We will ensure that this Privacy Notice is easily assessable. Please refer to our website: www.goldseal.ie if this medium is not suitable, we will ensure you can easily receive a copy.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any concerns about your personal data.
New consumer responsibilities arising out of the Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019 which was implemented to protect consumers.
Consumers: Duty of Disclosure when completing documentation for new business/renewals and midterm adjustments
You are required to answer all questions posed by us or the insurer honestly and with reasonable care – the test will be that of the ‘average consumer’.
Before renewal of the contract of insurance, specific questions will be asked. Again, you will be required to answer honestly and with reasonable care. Where you do not provide additional information (after being requested to do so) it can be presumed that the information previously provided remains unchanged.
Failure to answer all questions honestly and with reasonable care can result in the Insurer being able to rely on proportionate remedies for misrepresentation, which include but are not limited to the insurer voiding the contract of insurance. If a policy is cancelled by an insurer for any reason including payment default you may encounter difficulty in purchasing insurance in the future
New Business & Renewal
Completed proposal forms or Statements of Facts will be provided to you. These are important documents as they form the basis of insurance contract between the insurer and you the consumer. You should review and confirm that the answers contained within are true and accurate.
You are under a duty to pay your premium within a reasonable time, or otherwise in accordance with the terms of the contract of insurance.
If you have taken out a life insurance contract, you may cancel the contract by giving notice in writing to us within 30 days after the date you were informed the contract is on cover.
The giving of notice of cancellation by you will have the effect of releasing you from any further obligation arising from the contract of insurance. The insurer cannot impose any costs on you other than the cost of the premium for the period of cover
This right to cancel does not apply where, in respect of life insurance the contract is for a duration of six months or less, or in respect of general insurance, the duration of the contract is less than one month.
A court of competent jurisdiction can reduce the pay-out to the consumer where they are in breach of their duties under the Act, in proportion to the breach involved.
Post-Contract Stage and Claims
An insurer may refuse a claim made by a consumer under a contract of insurance where there is a change in the risk insured, including as described in an “alteration of risk” clause, and the circumstances have so changed that it has effectively changed the risk to one which the insurer has not agreed to cover.
Any clause in a contract of insurance that refers to a “material change” will be interpreted as being a change that takes the risk outside what was in the reasonable contemplation of the contracting parties when the contract was concluded.
The consumer must cooperate with the insurer in an investigation of insured events including responding to reasonable requests for information in an honest and reasonably careful manner and must notify the insurer of the occurrence of an insured event in a reasonable time.
The consumer must notify the insurer of a claim within a reasonable time, or otherwise in accordance with the terms of the contract of insurance.
If the consumer becomes aware after a claim is made of information that would either support or prejudice the claim, they are under a duty to disclose it. (The insurer is under the same duty).
If the consumer makes a false or misleading claim in any material respect (and knows it to be false or misleading or consciously disregards whether it is) the insurer is entitled to refuse to pay and to terminate the contract.
Where an insurer becomes aware that a consumer has made a fraudulent claim, they must notify the consumer advising that they are avoiding the contract of insurance. It will be treated as being terminated from the date of the submission of the fraudulent claim. The insurer may refuse all liability in respect of any claim made after the date of the fraudulent act, and the insurer is under no obligation to return any of the premiums paid under the contract.
Commercial Customers: Non-Consumers
Disclosure of Information
It is essential that you should bring to our attention any material alteration in risk such as changes of address or use of premises. Any failure to disclose material information may invalidate your claim and render your policy void.
We are members of the Investor Compensation Scheme operated by the Investor Compensation Company Ltd. See below for details.
Investor Compensation Scheme
The Investor Compensation Act, 1998 provides for the establishment of a compensation scheme and the payment, in certain circumstances, of compensation to certain clients (known as eligible investors) of authorised investment firms, as defined in that Act.
The Investor Compensation Company Ltd. (ICCL) was established under the 1998 Act to operate such a compensation scheme and our firm is a member of this scheme.
Compensation may be payable where money or investment instruments owed or belonging to clients and held, administered or managed by the firm cannot be returned to those clients for the time being and where there is no reasonably foreseeable opportunity of the firm being able to do so.
A right to compensation will arise only:
- If the client is an eligible investor as defined in the Act; and
- If it transpires that the firm is not in a position to return client money or investment instruments owned or belonging to the clients of the firm; and
- To the extent that the client’s loss is recognised for the purposes of the Act.
Where an entitlement to compensation is established, the compensation payable will be the lesser of:
- 90% of the amount of the client’s loss which is recognised for the purposes of the Investor Compensation Act, 1998; or
- Compensation of up to €20,000.
For further information, contact the Investor Compensation Company Ltd. at (01) 224 4955.
Brokers Ireland Clients’ Compensation and Membership Benefits Scheme (BIC)
We are also members of the Brokers Ireland Clients’ Compensation and Membership Benefits Scheme (BIC). Subject to the rules of the scheme the liabilities of its members firms up to a maximum of €100,000 per client (or €250,000 in aggregate) may be discharged by the fund on its behalf if the member firm is unable to do so, where the above detailed Investor Compensation Scheme has failed to adequately compensate any client of the member. Further details are available on request.
 Average consumer as per Directive No. 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 is reasonably well informed and reasonably observant and circumspect, taking into account social, cultural and linguistic factors.