The information on this website does not take into account the personal, financial or other circumstances, needs, objectives or requirements of its visitors. All information provided is of a factual and general nature only and cannot be construed as the provision of advice in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002 (“FAIS”).
DuePoint is a company incorporated in terms of the laws of South Africa under registration number:1999/003479/07. DuePoint is registered as a Financial Services Provider with the Financial Services Board under FSP number 50318. DuePoint is a category 1 FSP and is authorised to conduct services relating to the supply of short term insurance and long term insurance products.
All of the products provided by DuePoint automatically include the advantage of being a Wealth Engineer, with the benefit of full access to and usage of the DuePoint System and facilities at no extra charge. The advantage of being a Wealth Engineer is nonetheless not contingent upon selecting any particular DuePoint product.
As required by FAIS and in order to facilitate an efficient system by which our clients can communicate with us, DuePoint subscribes to the following policies and procedures:
TREATING THE CUSTOMER FAIRLY
The board and management are committed to ensuring, collectively and individually, that sound governance principles are fully integrated into all aspects of our business. Accordingly, all policies, processes and procedures are controlled and executed according to a structured and formal system in full compliance with the governance requirements of the jurisdictions in which we work.
Moreover, in all our interactions we meticulously adhere to a rigorous policy of treating our policyholders and their beneficiaries scrupulously fairly.
TCF is clearly raised as one of the compliance objectives for each year during DuePoint’s annual strategy meeting and is formally adopted by the Board each year.
In order to implement DuePoint’s policies on TCF, training has been conducted with each staff member responsible for complaints handling. Each employee is expected to understand and apply this policy as set out in the training material and as further detailed in the corporate code of conduct forming an integral part of their employment contracts with DuePoint.
The following broadly encompasses the TCF policy adopted by DuePoint and its employee members:
- Adhere to the employer’s corporate culture of ensuring that clients fully understand the features, benefits, exclusions, risks and costs associated with the financial products they buy
- Ensure that clients are provided with clear, concise information and kept appropriately informed before, during and after the purchase of their products allowing them to make informed decisions
- Ensure that regular, clear and appropriate correspondence is maintained with clients at all times and that the relevant communication protocols are strictly followed
- Adhere to the employer’s phone etiquette standards and to provide excellent service to the client where the fair treatment of the client is central to that service
- Follow the principle that client service at all stages must meet client expectations and that any promises or commitments made must be met
- NOT give any financial advice to clients but to direct them to management where such advice is required or sought
- Ensure that any request from a client is attended to without any unnecessary barriers or delays
- Fairly manage the client’s expectation at all times
- Leave the client feeling pleased about their experience with DuePoint and confident that they are dealing with an honest, professional and ethical organisation where the fair treatment of clients is central to the company’s culture
TCF applied to DuePoint’s Complaints Functions:
- All valid claims are paid promptly
- The principles of “fairness and equity” are applied in all decisions, always giving the customer the benefit of the doubt where information is not perfectly clear
- A strict communication protocol is followed and processes are in place to monitor adherence thereto
- The complaints resolution function aims to resolve internal complaints within a 48 hour period and to the satisfaction of our clients.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
In terms of Board Notice 58 and 92 of 2010 and 2014 issued under the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, no. 37 of 2002, DuePoint is required to maintain and operate effective organisational and administrative arrangements with a view to taking all reasonable steps to identify, monitor and manage conflict of interest. DuePoint has put in place a policy to safeguard its clients’ interests and ensure fair treatment of clients. The key information is summarised below.
This policy applies to all employees, directors, officers and agents of DuePoint. This policy will be reviewed annually.
The following terms are defined for ease of reference thereto and in terms of the meaning afforded to the said terms by the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act 37 of 2002 as follows:
“Conflict of interest”
- Any situation in which DuePoint or any of DuePoint’s employees and representatives may have an actual or potential interest that may, in rendering a financial service to a client
- Influence the objective exercise of DuePoint’s obligations to a client, or
- Prevent DuePoint from rendering an unbiased and fair financial service, or from acting in the interest of the client
Includes but is not limited to a financial interest, ownership interest or any relationship with a third party.
Means any cash, cash equivalent, voucher, gift, service, advantage, benefit, discount, domestic or foreign travel, hospitality, accommodation, sponsorship, other incentive or valuable consideration, other than:
- An ownership interest
- Training, that is not exclusively available to a selected group of providers on products and legal matters relating to those products, general financial and industry information, specialised technological systems of a third party necessary for the rendering of a financial service, but excluding travel and accommodation, associated with that training.
“Immaterial financial interest”
Means any financial interest with a determinable monetary value, the aggregate of which does not exceed R1,000.00 in any calendar year from the same third party in that calendar year received by:
- A provider who is a sole proprietor
- A representative for that representative’s direct benefit; or
- A provider, who for its benefit or that of some or all of its representatives, aggregates the immaterial financial interest paid to its representatives.
Means any equity or proprietary interest for which the fair value was paid by the owner at the time of acquisition, other than equity or a proprietary interest held as an approved nominee on behalf of another person.
This includes any dividend, profit share or other benefit derived from that equity or ownership interest.
- A natural person (spouse, life partner or civil union partner, a child (including a step child, child born out of wedlock and a adopted child), a parent or stepparent and any person legally responsible for that person)
- Juristic persons -if a company, all subsidiaries, holding companies and group subsidiaries and other juristic persons and group holding companies and group subsidiaries
- Persons directing or instructing any type of juristic person; and
- Trusts controlled and administered by the person.
Specific monetary measures DuePoint focuses on include:
- the fact that it does NOT receive intermediary commissions authorised in terms of applicable legislation; and
- DuePoint does not offer any financial interest to any representative or employee for:
- giving preference to the quantity of business secured for the provider to the exclusion of quality service;
- giving preference to a specific product supplier where more than one supplier can be recommended to a client;
- giving preference to a specific product of a supplier where more than one product of that supplier can be recommended
The measures DuePoint has adopted to manage identified conflicts are further summarized below. We consider them appropriate to our efforts to take reasonable care that, in relation to each identified potential conflict of interest, we act impartially to avoid a material risk of harming clients’ interests.
We have adopted appropriate procedures throughout our business to manage potential conflicts of interest. Our representatives, associates and employees receive guidance and training in these procedures and they are subject to monitoring and review processes. There are specific measures and consequences in place for non-compliance with our conflict of interest policy.
Our representatives, associates and employees respect the confidentiality of client information and disclose or use it with circumspect. No such information may be disclosed to a third party without the written consent of a client.
The key individual or compliance officer in charge of supervision and monitoring of this policy will regularly provide feedback on all related matters. The policy will be reviewed annually.
Where there is no other way of managing a conflict, or where the measures in place do not sufficiently protect clients’ interests, the conflict must be disclosed to allow clients to make an informed decision on whether to continue using our service in the situation concerned. In all cases, where appropriate and where determinable, the monetary value of non-cash inducements will be disclosed to clients. To date no such circumstances have arisen.
We will publish our conflict of interest management policy in appropriate media and ensure that it is easily accessible for public inspection at all reasonable times.
The provider, compliance officer or key individual will include a report on the conflict of interest management policy in the annual compliance report submitted to the Registrar.
DECLINING TO ACT
We may decline to act for a client in cases where we believe the conflict of interest cannot be managed in any other way.
PARTICULAR MANAGEMENT MEASURES
Identification of conflict of interest:
Create awareness and knowledge of applicable stipulations of the General Code of Conduct and relevant legislation relating to conflict of interest, through training and educational material;
Avoidance of conflict of interest:
- Ensure understanding and adoption of conflict of interest policy and management measures by all employees, representatives and associates;
- Do regular inspections on all commissions, remuneration, fees and financial interests proposed or received in order to avoid non-compliance;
- Keep a register of conflict of interest – at present none have been identified.
CONSEQUENCES OF NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE POLICY BY US AS PROVIDER, EMPLOYEES AND REPRESENTATIVES
In the event of non-compliance with the abovementioned terms of the Policy, in addition to any civil or criminal consequences, employees and representatives will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
HOW DUEPOINT WORKS AS APPLIED TO THE LEGISLATION OF SOUTH AFRICA
DUEPOINT IS A DIRECT ACCESS FINANCIAL SERVICES E-PORTAL
DuePoint was established to assist Insurers in obtaining better market penetration while simultaneously answering the Department of Trade and Industry’s call for larger organisations to assist in and create more opportunity for individuals to form, become better acquainted with and successfully participate in their own small businesses. In addition, DuePoint wishes to cater to the growing market segment of younger consumers who expect highly interactive digital experiences, complete with price transparency, as well as fast and even instant, delivery. Allowing insurers to reach customers who otherwise may not have been accessible through or responsive to more traditional channels.
Our experience has also been that the DuePoint System of regular lectures and online training is highly educational, even to those who do not subsequently participate in any way. It is also highly inclusive for those who have few other ways of entering the insurance industry, either to learn about insurance as a career, to test their aptitude for such a career or simply to obtain attractive products in a convenient and transparent manner.
DUEPOINT’S DIRECT ACCESS E-PORTAL IS HOUSED WITHIN TWO ENTITIES
As a division of both Constantia Insurance Company Limited (FSP 31111) and Constantia Life and Health Assurance Company Limited (FSP 49986) allowing Constantia to display and sell its own inhouse products on the e- portal and, DuePoint Network Consultants (Pty) Ltd (FSP 50318) in the role as intermediary and binder holder of 3rd party insurers allowing them access to the e-portal to display and sell their products through as well.
DECOUPLING OF DUEPOINT’S WEALTH ENGINEERS AND THE INSURER’S PRODUCTS
DuePoint appoints certain individuals who for our own purposes are referred to as “Wealth Engineers” (“WEs”). All WEs are appointed according to a strict mandate referred to as “The Wealth Engineers Code of Conduct” (“The Code”).
The scope, role and activity of the WE is described in detail within this Code. The most pertinent extracts are as follows:
- As a Wealth Engineer, you are deemed to be an independent contractor. Nothing herein will be construed as creating an employer-employee relationship between DuePoint and the Wealth Engineer for any purpose whatsoever, including without limitation, for the purposes of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (as amended), the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (as amended), the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1996 (as amended), and/or any other relevant legislation that may normally be applicable to an employer-employee relationship. Nothing contained herein will be construed as creating an agency, partnership or joint venture between DuePoint and the Wealth Engineer.
- Nothing in this code or any other DuePoint documentation will mean, whether express or implied, that you have been appointed as a financial or insurance adviser or consultant or broker, or as an agent or representative of DuePoint or any of its endorsed product suppliers.
Your Role as a Wealth Engineer
Your role as a Wealth Engineer is to convey to people you know or come to know materials and information regarding the DuePoint website. Such people may, of their own accord, acquire one or more products or services and/or choose to become a Wealth Engineer themselves as a result of their review of DuePoint’s website (www.duepoint.net).
WEs may not hold themselves out as, or act as, intermediaries or advisers. They are accordingly independent contractors whose function is merely to direct persons to the DuePoint e-Portal.
As with any web Search Engine Optimisation (“SEO”) specialist who would normally have been contracted to companies to assist them in driving more traffic to their websites, WE’s are merely tasked with attracting and directing people to DuePoint’s e-Portal (website). The people they direct to the website are people they may know or might otherwise encounter in their daily lives. The DuePoint website then outlines for these individuals everything they need to know about DuePoint, becoming a WE (if they so choose) and DuePoint’s products.
Through the above-mentioned process and the specialist construction of DuePoint’s website, insurers are able to convert this deeper penetration into the South African market into leads for potential new product purchases. Where interest is had in the comprehensive materials found on the website, the person concerned may complete an application form provided on the website. The potential product applicant is able to study, read, download and print a full product document prior to possible purchase and the completion of the online application form as well as watch product review videos outlining the key terms and conditions of all products displayed on the portal. Application to purchase may only be made online by individual applicants themselves and in their own right.
The application form is completed by the interested party only and is designed inter alia to ensure that the applicant has both desired to purchase and understood and accepted the product they have selected before it is submitted electronically directly to DuePoint. This is achieved by disclosing, both for viewing and/or for downloading for permanent storage, every aspect of the product purchase from the complete terms and conditions of each product to the payment provisions. These disclosures are placed throughout the application form so that at no point the applicant is left uncertain of what they are doing, applying for or purchasing. This is not to mention the complete disclosure of all products features, terms, conditions and exclusions, outside the application form itself throughout the website in both written and video format.
Extracts of some of the important disclosures and customer warranties contained within the Application form alone, include:
- I am acting for my own account and I have made an independent decision to enter into this product and as to whether the product is appropriate or proper for me, based upon my own judgment.
- I am not relying on any communication from DuePoint or a Wealth Engineer, whether written, oral or implied as product advice or as a recommendation to enter into the product. I understand that information and explanations relating to the terms of this product shall not be considered product advice or a recommendation to enter into the product.
- I have read and understood all relevant documentation associated with this product.
- I understand that this Agreement is confined to Online Transactions conducted by me and, unless otherwise provided for, does not apply to any Offline Business.
- This agreement shall commence once this Application (“the Agreement mandate”) has been accepted by the Applicant and accepted by DuePoint issuing confirmation thereof to the Applicant by SMS or email.
- I hereby acknowledge that it is my responsibility to consult with my financial adviser in order to perform a comprehensive needs analysis to ascertain the suitability of the product for my needs.
- I further confirm that I have made an informed decision to purchase the product/s and/or services indicated in this application and I am aware of the financial and tax consequences, if any, of such a purchase. No advice on the product/s was given to me and I have not been unduly influenced in any manner to take out this product/s. No intermediary service other than that performed by DuePoint Network Consultants (Pty) Ltd or the underwriting insurer itself was performed for or on my behalf by any other party.
- I hereby acknowledge that no advice and/or representations and/or warranties have been made or given to me by DuePoint nor by the affiliated product providers or by the Wealth Engineers.
- The policies shall not commence until the application has been accepted by DuePoint
- I have read and understood the contents of this application form and codes and I agree to its terms and conditions.
In addition, the simplicity of a WE’s duty are carefully conveyed in numerous additional ways including through DuePoint’s website, in the Code, as well as in DuePoint’s regular presentations and training seminars.
In light of the above, it is clear that the website directing activities of WEs are precisely that and nothing more. Any subsequent intermediary services are provided by Constantia or DuePoint Network Consultants (Pty Ltd and its product affiliates.
In the unlikely event that a WE’s website direction efforts might be considered to be something akin to an intermediary service, the fact that such service is purely clerical, technical, administrative or “other” in nature and does not require judgement, means that WEs are not “representatives” in need of registration.
MEMBERSHIP OF ANY SELF-REGULATORY OR ACCREDITATION BODIES TO WHICH DUEPOINT BELONGS OR SUBSCRIBES TO
- Direct Selling Association of South Africa
- Direct Marketing Association of South Africa
- South African Insurance Association
- Registered Financial Services Provider with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority under FSP 50318
CODE OF CONDUCT TO WHICH DUEPOINT SUBSCRIBES AND HOW THAT CODE OF CONDUCT MAY BE ASSESSED ELECTRONICALLY
- Direct Selling Association of South Africa’s Code of Conduct (www.dsasa.co.za)
- FAIS General Code of Conduct (www.fsca.co.za)
- The registration number of DuePoint
The place of registration: South Africa
HOW WEALTH ENGINEERS EARN
WEs are paid a set lead fee for connecting persons who may make their purchases through the DuePoint website.
Where a person who has been directed to DuePoint’s website has purchased an insurer product, all payments for that product are made directly by the product owner to the insurer or the affiliated product provider. At no time are funds paid by clients to or through any third parties. No additional or lump-sum payments of any kind are ever payable as a product owner or a WE. The only payments made by DuePoint clients are for the products purchased. No additional payment is made to participate as a WE.
As per the Code, WE’s are remunerated only where someone they directed to DuePoint’s website was successfully converted into a lead by DuePoint, and then in-turn became a product owner, who in-turn successfully pays for their product.
A critical concept to understand is that the payment is not an inducement to purchase an insurer’s product. On the contrary, the payment is available only to DuePoint WE’s (not product owners or “consumers”) and irrespective of whether such independent contractor owns a product or not. The payment is a reward (or fee if you prefer) not for buying a product but for a WE’s success in creating a channel of distribution, via DuePoint’s website, through which the insurer’s products have been obtained. Therefore, a WE cannot be described as the “consumer”. This is because the decision to become a DuePoint WE is entirely decoupled and unrelated to the decision to purchase an insurer’s product.
WE’s are rewarded for their success in creating leads that through DuePoint’s efforts result in a paid product through the DuePoint website, and not for connecting new WE’s.
Conversely, all insurers products are available at standard prices directly through the insurers themselves and are not subject to any kind of discount or rebate.
Product prices are unaffected by DuePoint’s System. Therefore, persons buying an insurance product through the DuePoint System pay the same as what they would have paid if that same product had been purchased through another direct medium or channel.
In short, at no stage does the DuePoint System lead to clients or WE’s facing any additional premium, cost or risk of loss.
DuePoint is also based on sustainable and sound financial principles, applying all applicable legislation to both its structure and WE fee rules.
Key defining characteristics are thus:
- There are no upfront or ongoing charges required from either WE’s or product owners.
- All products are priced on the same terms as are available elsewhere in the market.
- DuePoint offers no earnings guarantees, never requires start-up or on-going fees from either its WE’s or product owners to participate. Therefore, neither DuePoint nor its product owners assume any financial risk.
- DuePoint is a registered member of both the Direct Selling Association of South Africa and the Direct Marketing Association of Southern Africa and adheres firmly to their rules and codes of practice and conduct.
IS DUEPOINT A PYRAMID OR PONZI SCHEME
Parties and Definitions
Contractors are individuals who independently contract as WE’s to the DuePoint System.
The Consumer Protection Act (CPA)
The Consumer Protection Act was designed inter alia to outlaw certain financial schemes and traps that have resulted in large financial losses being suffered by unsuspecting individual’s. Typically chain letters, pyramid and Ponzi schemes.
As outlined in the previous section DuePoint is a legitimate and sustainable business with solid economic rationale. It is not an investment scheme and none of its independent contractor’s ever stand to lose their money or the considerable benefits their purchased products provide. However, the payment mechanisms that drive DuePoint are often misunderstood and erroneously lumped alongside the unlawful schemes described above.
It is for this reason, that a careful analysis of the DuePoint model in the context of the CPA is required.
- A person must not promote, offer, supply, agree to supply, or induce a consumer to accept any goods or services on the representation that the consumer will receive a rebate, commission or other benefit if—
- the consumer subsequently—
- gives the supplier the names of consumers; or
- otherwise assists the supplier to supply goods or services to other consumers; and
- that rebate, commission or other benefit is contingent upon an event occurring after the consumer agrees to the transaction.
- A statement by a consumer, whether in an agreement or otherwise, to the effect that the consumer was motivated to enter into a transaction contemplated in subsection (1) predominately for the value of the goods or services, rather than for the rebate, commission or benefit, is not a defence to an allegation that a person has contravened subsection (1).
- This section does not apply to a franchise agreement.
The prohibition in this section relates to a consumer being induced to purchase a product on the strength of a “rebate, commission or other benefit” that they will only receive if after the purchase of the product they successfully provide the product supplier with names of other consumers or some other kind of assistance.
Note: It is essential to remember that subsection 1(a)(ii) and 1(b) are conjunctively linked with the word “and” in this section.
It is easy to conclude that the lead fee paid to DuePoint’s independent contractors (“WEs”) might be construed as a “rebate, commission or other benefit” as described in this section. The key concept to remember, however, is that the payment is not an inducement to purchase an insurer’s product on DuePoint’s website. On the contrary, the payment is available only to DuePoint’s independent contractor’s (not product owners or “consumers”). The payment is a reward (or fee if you prefer) not for buying a product but for a WE’s success in creating a channel of distribution into which DuePoint has successfully sold products. Therefore, a WE cannot be described as the “consumer” in the context of this definition. This is because the decision to become a DuePoint independent contractor is entirely decoupled and unrelated to the decision to purchase a product from DuePoint’s website.
Conversely, all products displayed on the DuePoint website are available at standard prices directly through the participating insurer’s and are not subject to any kind of discount or rebate. Therefore, a consumer who decides not to become a DuePoint independent contractor but to only purchase a product cannot request any kind of “rebate, commission or other benefit” even if they agree to assist DuePoint in some way e.g. by providing the names of other consumers.
- money, property, a cheque or other negotiable instrument, a token, a ticket, electronic credit, credit, debit or electronic chip or similar object;
- labour, barter or other goods or services;
- loyalty credit or award, coupon or other right to assert a claim; or
- any other thing, undertaking, promise, agreement or assurance,
- A person must not directly or indirectly promote, or knowingly join, enter or participate in—
- a) a multiplication scheme, as described in subsection (3);
- b) a pyramid scheme, as described in subsection (4);
- c) a chain letter scheme, as described in subsection (5); or
- d) any other scheme declared by the Minister in terms of subsection (6),
- A multiplication scheme exists when a person offers, promises or guarantees to any consumer, investor or participant an effective annual interest rate, as calculated in the prescribed manner, that is at least 20 per cent above the REPO Rate determined by the South African Reserve Bank as at the date of investment or commencement of participation, irrespective of whether the consumer, investor or participant becomes a member of the lending party.
- There should be no debate regarding this definition as DuePoint makes no promises of guaranteed returns to either its independent contractors or product owners, particularly because there is no joining fee or other consideration paid by the WE. It is important to remember the bold earnings warnings provided to WEs when considering this section.
- An arrangement, agreement, practice or scheme is a pyramid scheme if—
- a) participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants, rather than from the sale of any goods or services; or
- b) the emphasis in the promotion of the scheme indicates an arrangement or practice contemplated in paragraph (a).
As explained above, WEs cannot be described as “participants” as they are not required to provide any consideration to DuePoint whatsoever in order to participate in the DuePoint System. There is no joining fee, upfront investment or ongoing charges required in order to access the DuePoint System.
In addition, WEs are rewarded for their success in creating channels of product distribution within DuePoint, and not for connecting new WEs. This is the primary emphasis of the DuePoint System. In the absence of achieving this objective, there would be no economic rationale to DuePoint’s business.
- An arrangement, agreement, practice or scheme is a chain letter scheme if—
- a) it has various levels of participation;
- b) existing participants canvass and recruit new participants; or
- c) each successive newly recruited participant—
- upon joining—
- aa) is required to pay certain consideration, which is distributed to one, some or all of the previously existing participants, irrespective of whether the new participant receives any goods or services in exchange for that consideration; and bb) is assigned to the lowest level of participation in the scheme; and
- upon recruiting further new participants, or upon those new participants recruiting further new participants, and so on in continual succession—
- aa) may participate in the distribution of the consideration paid by any such new recruit; and
- bb) moves to a higher level within the scheme, until being removed from the scheme after reaching the highest level.
- The Minister, by regulation made in accordance with section 120, may declare any arrangement, agreement, practice or scheme to be a scheme contemplated in subsection (2)(d), if it is similar in purpose or effect to a scheme contemplated in that subsection, irrespective of its apparent or intrinsic value, or whether it is transferred directly or indirectly, or involves only the supplier and consumer or other parties in addition to the supplier and consumer;
With DuePoint there are no levels of participation. This should not be confused with the fact that payments are paid per point of distance from the WE, as these are not levels of participation but merely a mechanism for determining ongoing payments. Each WE is able to start his own channel of distribution and his relationship relative to his introducer bears no impact on the success of his channel of distribution or the likelihood of receiving payments. By connecting new WE’s, an existing WE does not:
- Rise to “a higher level within the scheme” – he remains exactly where he is relative to his introducer as well as his introduced WE’s;
- Participate in the distribution of consideration received from new WEs – as mentioned above independent contractor’s do not pay any consideration whatsoever to participate in the DuePoint System;
- Get ultimately removed from the DuePoint System “after reaching the highest level” – contractors can remain independent contractor’s for as long as they like and even bequeath their channel of distribution to a nominated person.
Subsequent reviews by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority and other regulators within South Africa and its compliance to more than 100 other pieces of South African legislation, most notably the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, DuePoint has been approved as a legitimate wealth creation and online financial services business.