Code of Conduct

Preamble

This Code of Conduct is designed to serve as a voluntary code for Banks to follow, providing guiding principles to raise the professional standards of banking practice and promote trust in the UAE Banking Industry.

The Code is not a legal document, nor is it intended to replace the bank’s own policies. Its main purpose is to provide a Code of behavior between banks in order to promote fair competition between banks and to strengthen and develop the UAE Banking Industry.

The responsibility to comply with the Code rests with each individual bank. Every member of the UAE Banking Federation will be expected to adhere to the Code at all times.

Key Attributes

AttributeRequirement
Integrity, due skill, care and diligenceA bank must conduct its business with integrity, high ethical standards, due skill, care and diligence.
Management and control A bank must take reasonable care to organise and control its affairs responsibly and effectively, with adequate risk management systems and financial resources.

A bank must have and employ effectively the resources, policies and procedures, processes, systems and control checks, including compliance checks and staff training that are necessary for compliance with and understanding of this Code and the bank’s own code of conduct/ethics.

A bank must take reasonable care to keep secure from unauthorized disclosure; any confidential information it receives on clients, or any details of the transactions of its clients, only releasing information when required, or specifically permitted by laws and regulations.

A bank must take reasonable care to ensure their use of technology and systems protects clients and the banking system as a whole and does not subject its clients nor the system to unnecessary loss.
Relationship between banks Interbank relationships should be based on accessibility, mutuality and confidence through the exchange of current and truthful information where appropriate and in line with any applicable law and regulation..

Banks should respond (to the fullest extent possible in line with their internal policies and any applicable law and regulation) in a timely manner to information requests on former employees. Information given between banks should always be treated in confidence.
Market conduct A bank must observe proper standards of market conduct and manage conflicts of interest fairly, both between itself and its customers and stakeholders, and between a customer and another customer.

A bank should engage in areas of activity permitted under its licence, only after it has taken reasonable measures to ensure it has the necessary resources and expertise to conduct them without endangering the well being of the financial system.
Customer conduct A bank must pay due regard to:
  • the interests of its customers and treat them fairly,
  • customer complaints and deal with them promptly, efficiently and fairly,
  • the specific needs of the elderly and disabled,
  • the training needs of staff to allow the provision of guidance on:-
    • the suitability of its products and services for its retail clients,
    • its advice for any customer who is entitled to rely upon its judgment.
  • provide the customer with a copy (or make a copy available to the customer) of the contract, transaction or agreement before, or at the time it takes effect,
  • the information needs of its customers/clients, and communicate information to them in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading. Full disclosure of all relevant material information in a way that seeks to inform the customer, including providing statements of transactions periodically and upon request.
  • deposit & savings rates, are to be published in an accessible format & periodically updated.
  • client instructions should be executed promptly so as not to cause financial loss. If any request cannot be executed due to any legal or regulatory reason, the bank has to notify the client promptly where this does not conflict with the relevant law or regulation.
  • any complaints received from clients and employ systems and processes to ensure that these are responded to promptly and where required independently. Banks should set performance targets for the resolution of complaints and report performance to an appropriate level of senior management
In respect of retail clients utilizing credit facilities banks must additionally: -
  • take reasonable care to ensure the borrower and any guarantor is aware of the obligations they are undertaking,
  • be transparent in advising applicable interest rates, service charges and fees on websites or on notice boards in branches. In particular effective interest rates should be published and not flat rates of interest. When terms such as cost of funds or base rate are used the basis of the calculation should be clear to the market and to customers.
  • not exceed their published rates and not impose hidden charges, penalties or levies that are not contracted or agreed upon.
  • provide clients facing financial difficulties with support for the management of their indebtedness,
  • try to develop a repayment plan with the client before resorting to external debt collection, or legal action,
  • give the client prior notice, where possible, of the appointment of debt collection agents and take reasonable steps to ensure any such agents perform their duties ethically and responsibly.
Information should be given in English, or Arabic and may optionally be given in such other language as may be suitable for their client mix.

Bank should provide adequate protection for clients’ assets when it is responsible for them, particularly any outsourced arrangements
Advertising Banks will ensure that all its advertising and promotional material is clear, fair and not misleading.
Relations with regulator and the country at large A bank must:
  • comply with all the laws and regulations applicable to its operations in the UAE or elsewhere in the world where the bank operates,
  • take reasonable measure to comply with relevant UAE corporate governance principles and regulations and international best practice,
  • deal with its regulators in an open and cooperative manner, and disclose to the Central Bank of the UAE as its home regulator anything relating to the bank of which the Central Banks would reasonably expect notice,
  • take reasonable steps to support the government in its efforts to increase the level of financial literacy in the country
  • take reasonable steps to support the efforts of the Government in the development of society and the economy.
Development of the UAE National staff Banks should develop and train UAE National staff in line with national objectives to increase the proportion of banking professionals who are UAE Nationals.

Banks should endeavor to develop their own UAE National talent through their own banking schools and academies and encourage the recruitment of fresh competent graduates.


 
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