In an April 2023 Financial Services Tribunal decision (T Singh v Marsh) previously discussed here (The FAIS Act and debarment: fit and proper), (The jurisdictional requirements for FAIS debarment) and (FAIS debarment: an honest person with integrity), the Tribunal reminded us that debarment is not aimed at punishing the relevant financial services provider but rather to ensure and maintain the honesty and integrity required from a financial services provider.

A financial services provider who is not fit and proper should not be unleashed on the unsuspecting public.

The court quoted from Law Society v Du Toit 1938 OPD 103 which while the case deals with an attorney, the Tribunal said is equally applicable to the case of a financial services provider:

“The proceedings are instituted by the Law Society for the definite purpose of maintaining the integrity, dignity and respect the public must have for officers of this court. The proceedings are of a purely disciplinary nature; they are not intended to act as punishment for the respondent… It is for the courts in cases of this nature to be careful to distinguish between justice and mercy. An attorney fulfils a very important function in the work of the court. The public is entitled to demand that a court should see to it that officers of the court do their work in a manner above suspicion. If we were to overlook misconduct on the part of officers of the court, if we were to allow our desire to be merciful to overrule our sense of duty to the public and our sense of importance attaching to the integrity of the profession, we should soon get into a position where the profession would be prejudiced and brought into discredit.”

Blog 4 of 4: The aim of FAIS debarment