The Office of the FAIS Ombud (“the Office”) is committed to resolving complaints in a procedurally fair, informal, economical, and expeditious manner, with reference to what is equitable in all circumstances.
On 19 October 2022, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (“FSCA”) officially declared that crypto assets are now classified as financial products in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 37 of 2002 (“FAIS Act”). The Declaration was published in Government Notice 1350 in Government Gazette 47334.
Prior to the declaration by the FSCA, the Office of the FAIS Ombud was unable to investigate any complaints in respect of crypto assets, as it was not a financial product and fell outside of this Office’s jurisdiction. This has now changed, and providers of crypto assets will now fall within the regulatory jurisdiction of the FSCA and, by extension, complaints against such providers may now be investigated by the Office of the FAIS Ombud.
The Office can investigate complaints against existing registered financial service providers who offer advice on crypto currency. These providers need to comply with all the requirements of the Code such as material disclosures, conducting a needs analysis and recommending a product that is appropriate to one’s needs and circumstances.
Crypto asset providers have a temporary exemption until 30 November 2023 to apply for a license with the FSCA. In the meantime, a Crypto asset provider is bound by Section 2 of the General Code of Conduct for Authorised FSPs and Representatives, (Board Notice 80 of 2003), as if they are a licensed FSP. Section 2 provides that an FSP must at all times render financial services honestly, fairly, with due skill, care and diligence, and in the interests of clients and the integrity of the financial services industry.
Should you believe that you have indeed been financially prejudiced because of the financial service rendered to you in respect of crypto assets, or indeed any other financial product, then you can visit our Complaints Portal at www.faisombud.co.za and select ‘Lodge Complaint’. Alternatively, you may submit a complaint in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax: (012) 348 3447 / (012) 470 9097. Alternatively you may call our Client Care Centre on (012) 762 5000 or Sharecall 086 066 3274 for assistance in submitting a complaint.