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Terms of Business 

Financial Equality Services Limited and/or “the Company”. 

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. This document takes effect from 16th June 2023. 

Authorisation with the Central Bank of Ireland 

Financial Equality Services Limited (C496966) 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 and as a Mortgage Intermediary authorised under the Consumer Credit Act, 1995, and as a Mortgage Credit Intermediary under the European Union (Consumer Mortgage Credit Agreements) Regulations 2016. 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 

The Company 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 

 

Our Services 

Financial Equality Services Limited 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, mortgages. A Full list of insurers and product producers with which we deal is available on request. 

 

Insurance Intermediary Services/Mortgage Intermediary Services (except for Insurance based Investment Products (IBIPs) 

We act as a broker which means that: 

  1. The principal regulated activities of the firm are provided on the basis of a fair and personal analysis of the market; and 

  2. You have the option to pay in full for our services by means of a fee.

 

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, 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 reasonably be 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: 

  1. the needs of the customer, 

  2. the size of the customer order, 

  3. the number of providers in the market that deal with brokers, 

  4. the market share of each of those providers, 

  5. the number of relevant products available from each provider, 

  6. the availability of information about the products, 

  7. the quality of the product and service provided by the provider, 

  8. cost, and 

  9. any other relevant consideration. 

 

Investment Intermediary Services 

We provide investment Intermediary services on the basis of independent advice. This means that the firm is remunerated by commission for our 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/Deposits & Life Wrapped Investments 

Financial Equality Services Limited 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 in 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 with 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. 

 

Mortgages 

Through the lenders or other undertakings with which we hold an agency, Financial Equality Services Limited can provide advice on and arrange mortgage products from the following range: fixed-rate loans, variable rate mortgages, capital & interest mortgages, interest only mortgages, endowment mortgages, pension mortgages and residential investment property. We provide mortgage advice on a fair analysis basis (providing services on the basis of a sufficiently large number of contracts and product producers available in the market to enable the firm to make a recommendation, in accordance with professional criteria, regarding which contract would be adequate to meet your needs). We will need to collect sufficient information from you before we can offer any advice on housing loans. This is because a key issue in relation to mortgage advice is affordability. Such information should be produced promptly upon our request. 

 

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 do not assess, in addition to relevant financial risks, relevant sustainability risks as far as this information is available in relation to the products proposed/advised on. This means that we do not assess environmental, social or governance events/conditions that, if they occur, could have a material negative impact on the value of the investment. 

 

When providing advice on insurance-based investment products (‘IBIPs’) or investment advice we do not consider the impacts of our advice that result in negative effects on sustainability factors (namely environmental, social and employee matters, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and anti-bribery matters), because [reasons to be completed by the individual Broker] E.g., Currently there is limited relevant products on the market which meet these criteria. The area of sustainable is relatively new and as the issue progresses, we will review our position. 

 

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. (Reference information contained in the product documentation provided by the product manufacturer). 

 

Statement of Charges 

We may earn our remuneration on the basis of fee, commission and any other type of remuneration, including an economic benefit of any kind offered or given with the insurance contract. 

 

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. 

 

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 5 hrs. 

 

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. 

 

In certain circumstances, it will be necessary to charge a fee for services provided. These are listed below. 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/will 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 

You may elect to deal with us on a fee basis. Where this is the case, fees will be agreed in advance and in writing prior to the commencement of any service provided. 

 

Directors: €350 per hour 

Support Staff: €250 per hour 

 

Additional fees may be payable for complex cases or to reflect value, specialist skills or urgency, our scale of fees for such cases range from a minimum of €250 per hour to a maximum of €350 per hour. We will notify you in advance and agree the scale of fees to be charged. 

 

Financial Equality Services Limited reserves the right to charge a fund based commission of up to 0.5% on pension contracts under our management with a value of €50,000 or less. 

 

For pension contracts under management with a value more than €50,000, we reserve the right to charge a fund based commission of up to 0.25% 

 

Investment Fees 

 

Directors: €350 per hour 

Support Staff: €250 per hour 

 

Additional fees may be payable for complex cases or to reflect value, specialist skills or urgency, our scale of fees for such cases range from a minimum of €250 per hour to a maximum of €500 per hour. We will notify you in advance and agree on the scale of fees to be charged. 

 

Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) – Fees 

Where advice is requested for PRSAs, the following hourly fees may apply and will be agreed in advance and in writing prior to the commencement of any service provided. 

 

Directors: €350 per hour 

Support Staff: €250 per hour 

 

Additional fees may be payable for complex cases or to reflect value, specialist skills or urgency. We will notify you in advance of providing you with these services, our scale of fees for such cases range from a minimum of €250 per hour to a maximum of €350 per hour. If we receive commission from a product provider, this will 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 intermediary unless an arrangement to the contrary is made. 

 

Clawback 

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. 

 

Non-Life Remuneration 

Financial Equality Services Limited is remunerated by commission from insurers on completion of business. Details of this remuneration are available on request. Where an override commission is received, this will be disclosed to you in general terms. 

 

Mortgages 

We utilise the services of a third-party provider, Brokers Ireland Network Services to process some of our mortgage applications. Financial Equality Services charge a €450 application fee when availing of the Broker Ireland Network Servies. Upon completion of the mortgage Financial Equality Services will refund this fee.

 

We may receive up to 1.0% of the loan for arranging mortgage finance. This commission is paid by the mortgage lender. The actual amount of commission will be disclosed at a later stage in the ESIS (European Standardised Information Sheet) which will be forwarded to you. Information on the variation in levels of commission payable by the different creditors providing credit agreements being offered is available on request. 

 

We can charge a fee of €500 for advising on a mortgage application, this fee is non-refundable. This is not in any way an indication of mortgage/loan approval. Our fee will be notified to the lender who will include this fee into the calculation of the APRC (Annual Percentage Rate Charge). 

 

Please note that lenders may charge specific fees in certain circumstances and if this applies, these fees will be specified in your Loan Offer. You have the right to pay a fee separately and not include it in the loan. Typically, this situation arises in relation to specialist lending. 

 

If we provide mortgage advice and obtain a Loan Offer for you and you subsequently do not proceed with your mortgage application through our firm, we will charge you an arrangement fee of €1000 for our services. 

 

Remuneration 

A summary of the details of "all arrangements for any fee, commission, other reward or remuneration paid or provided to the intermediary which it has agreed with Insurers or product producers" is available here on our website www.feservices.ie​. 

 

Ongoing Suitability 

The firm’s services does not include ongoing suitability assessments. 

 

Insurance based Investment Products 

The firm’s services does not include ongoing suitability assessments. 

 

Regular Reviews 

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. 

 

Disclosure of Information 

Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019 

Following the commencement of the Consumer Insurance Contract Act 2019, which was implemented to protect consumers, there is important information that you should be aware of and we are bringing to your attention for policies of Insurance effective after 1st September 2020. There are obligations on you as the consumer and duties that you must fulfil at the various stages of the process of arranging and renewing your Insurance policy. 

 

So please read the following information very carefully and if you have any questions please ask a member of our staff. 

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’1

 

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. 

1 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. 

Completed proposal forms/statement of fact 

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. 

 

If you are ever in doubt about whether or not something needs to be disclosed, the safest course of action is to please contact us to discuss the matter. 

 

New Business & Renewal 

A consumer may cancel a contract of insurance, by giving notice in writing to the insurer, within 14 working days after the date the consumer was informed that the contract is concluded. The insurer cannot impose any costs on the consumer other than the cost of the premium for the period of cover. The consumer is under a duty to pay their premium within a reasonable time, or otherwise in accordance with the terms of the contract of insurance.

 

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 voiding 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. 

 

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. 

 

In some cases, we may be a party to a profit-share arrangement with product producers where we provide extra services for the provider. Any business arranged with these providers on your behalf is placed with them as they are at the time of placement the most suitable to meet your requirements taking all relevant information, demands and needs into account. 

 

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 to 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. 

 

Complaints 

Whilst we are happy to receive verbal complaints, it would be preferable that any complaints are made in writing. We will acknowledge your complaint in writing 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 complaints procedure is available on request. 

 

Data Protection 

We are subject to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and the Irish Data Protection Act 2018. Financial Equality Services Limited 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 accessible. Please refer to our website www.feservices.ie if this medium is not suitable please contact us at info@feservices.ie if you have any concerns about your personal data. 

 

Compensation Scheme 

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. 

 

Broker 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. 

 

Version 1.5 16.06.2023

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