A step-by-step guide on how to apply for a Fidelity Fund Certificate

October 20th, 2022
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Section 84 of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 refers to the obligations of a legal practitioner relating to handling of trust money.

Section 84(1) states: ‘Every attorney or any advocate referred to in section 43(2)(b), other than a legal practitioner in the full-time employ of the South African Human Rights Commission or the State as a state attorney or state advocate and who practices or is deemed to practise –

(a) for his or her own account either alone or in partnership; or

(b) as a director of a practice which is a juristic entity, must be in possession of a Fidelity Fund Certificate’.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC).

Step 1: First go to https://ffc.fidfund.co.za.

  • Log in with your account, should you have one.
  • For users logging in for the first-time, follow the process below:
    • Go to first time login/forgot password.
    • Insert the member’s identification number.
    • Insert member’s e-mail address (this would be the member number provided by the Legal Practice Council (LPC)).
    • Click on send my details.

Step 2: Receive an e-mail with login credentials (this would be a username, user code and password).

  • Go to login:
    • Capture your login details – this would be your username, user code password.
    • Click ‘Login’ (beneath the login credentials space provided).
    • On the next pop up, check that the system correctly identifies you under ‘Group’ as either a ‘Member’ or a ‘Responsible Member’.
    • Click ‘Continue’.

Step 3: The system will require you to change the password:

  • On old password, capture the password you received from the FFC system when you registered.
  • On new password, put in your own password which must comply with the following:
    • It must have no less than six characters.
    • It must contain at least one alphabet in capital letters.
    • It must contain at least one special character (eg, &, @, !, *, #, etcetera).
    • Click on change password.

Not logging in for the first time? Follow these steps –

  • Go to login.
  • Capture your login details (this would be your username, user code, and password).
  • Click ‘Login’ (beneath the login credential space provided).
  • On the pop up, check that the system correctly identifies you under ‘Group’ as either a ‘Member’ or a ‘Responsible Member’).
    • Once you are logged in, go to the Financials Module (this can be completed by the firm’s representative).
    • Click once on the module and a window will come up:
      • Select the year for which you wish to generate a certificate under ‘Year Code’.
      • Follow the exclamation mark and click on ‘Select a Firm’.
      • Select your firm appearing on the right of the window:
        • The tabs from s 86(2) will become available for you to interact with each item going down, for example, as you have completed the balances for the available one, the next one will become available. An available tab is denoted by red circle with an exclamation mark.
        • All financial tabs are mandatory to complete, except for s 86(3). However, if there is an account number populated for s 86(3), you must provide balances for that account. For example, you cannot complete s 86(4) if s 86(2) is not complete, and if there are s 86(3) balances required, that must also be completed before you can complete s 86(4) balances, and so on. Engage with each one of them by clicking once on each tab to capture the balances.

 

  • Section 86(2)

Capture the balances as reflected on the bank account statement and interest rates as provided by the bank for all the quarters necessary. Populate the balances for all s 86(2) trust accounts. Remember to click on ‘Update’ once the balances and interest rates for each bank account per quarter are captured. You will be able to proceed to either s 86(3) or s 86(4), where there is no s 86(3).

  • Section 86(3)

Capture balances and interest rates for all the quarters, for all s 86(3) accounts (if any). Remember to click on ‘Update’ once balances and interest rates for each bank account per quarter are captured.

  • Section 86(4)

Capture consolidated balances for all financial institutions with which s 86(4) accounts were opened. To get the financial institutions, select the financial institution from the drop-down box, where the name of the financial institution for which a consolidated balance is reported, for all quarters. Once all quarters are captured, click ‘Update’ to save the captured information.

Where balances more than ‘zero’ are reported, the breakdown section at the bottom must completed with the breakdown of the reported balances, per quarter. You can do this by clicking on the quarter for which you will provide a breakdown, the reported balance will populate itself at the bottom, in the breakdown section.

This breakdown is done with amounts (not percentages), which taken together must add up to 100% of the initially reported balance, per quarter. Should the breakdown not add up to 100% of the reported balance (up to the last cent), the system will not save the breakdown, and you will not be able to proceed any further.

For each completed breakdown, click ‘Update’, on the breakdown section, before selecting the next quarter.

Should you wish to capture more balances in respect of other financial institution/s, for any of the quarters:

Click on the quarter for which you need to provide the balance, then click on the tab named ‘Additional Institutional Balance’ on which a new window will pop up:

  • Select the name of the financial institution from the drop-down selection.
  • Confirm the currency (ZAR).
  • Capture the balance.
  • Click ‘Add’ to add the new record.
  • Close the window, the new record will update on the balances.

For additional financial institutions for which you need to provide balances:

  • Click on the quarter for which you need to provide the balance, then click on the tab named ‘Additional Institutional Balance’ upon which a new window will pop up.
  • Select the name of the financial institution from the drop-down selection.
  • Confirm the currency (ZAR).
  • Capture the balance.
  • Click ‘Add’ to add the new record.
  • Close the window, the new record will update on the balances.

For all added balances per financial institution do the following:

Where balances more than ‘zero’ are reported, complete the breakdown section at the bottom with the breakdown of the reported balances, per quarter. You do this by clicking on the quarter for which you will provide a breakdown, the reported balance will populate itself at the bottom, in the breakdown section.

This breakdown is done with amounts (not percentages), which taken together must add up to 100% of the initially reported balance, per quarter. Should the breakdown not add up to 100% of the reported balance (up to the last cent), the system will not save the breakdown, and you will not be able to proceed any further.

For each completed breakdown, click ‘Update’, on the breakdown section, before selecting the next quarter.

Investments

Capture consolidated balances for all financial institutions with which the firm invested in terms of the rules. Select the financial institution from the drop down, for all quarters.

Should you have balances with more than one financial institution, do the following:

  • Click on the quarter for which you need to provide the balance, then click on the tab named ‘Additional Institutional Balance’ upon which a new window will pop up.
  • Select the name of the financial institution from the drop-down selection.
  • Confirm the currency (ZAR).
  • Capture the balance.
  • Click ‘Add’ to add the new record.
  • Close the window, the new record will update on the balances.
  • Remember to click on ‘Update’ once all balances for all the quarters are captured.

Estates

Capture consolidated balances for all financial institutions with which the firm opened late estate accounts. Select the financial institution from the drop down, for all quarters.

Should you have balances with more than one financial institution, for additional institutions do the following –

  • Click on the quarter for which you need to provide the balance, then click on the tab named ‘Additional Institutional Balance’ upon which a new window will pop up.
  • Select the name of the financial institution from the drop-down selection.
  • Confirm the currency (ZAR).
  • Capture the balance.
  • Click ‘Add’ to add the new record.
  • Close the window, the new record will update on the balances.
  • Remember to click on ‘Update’ once all balances for all the quarters are captured.

Property

  • Capture consolidated balances for any other assets/property for all quarters.
  • Remember to click on ‘Update’ once all balances for all the quarters are captured.
  • Click on ‘Pass/Fail’ summary to see the audit approval status of the firm. An unfavourable audit report status will render you unable to proceed past the questionnaire.
  • Scroll to the right at the bottom of the window to see the audit report status.
  • If the audit report was not received when it should have been submitted, the firm will fail, and the member will not get a certificate.
  • If the audit report was received but not approved, the firm will fail, and member will not get a certificate.
  • If the audit report was not yet due at the time of completing the application, the firm will pass.
  • If the audit report was received and approved, the firm will pass.
  • Click on ‘Firm Questionnaire’.
  • Check that the form pre-populates the firm details, if not refresh the form.
  • Complete the form until the end.
  • Submit the application form.
  • Click on ‘AIIF Risk Questionnaire’.
  • Complete the questionnaire until the end.
  • Submit the form.
  • Proceed to ‘Confirm and Submit’.
  • Acknowledge correctness of the completed questionnaire.
  • Click on ‘Update’ to complete the process.
  • Verify that the ‘Confirm and Submit’ tab gets a green tick before you can proceed to ‘Certification’.

Go to ‘Certification’ Module

  • Click once on ‘Certification’.
  • Select the year for which you wish to generate a certificate under ‘Year Code’.
  • Follow the exclamation mark and click on ‘Select a Member’.
  • Select the member’s name appearing on the right of the screen (‘Select Member’ and ‘Linked Firms’ tabs will turn blue with green ticks).
  • Verify the information under member by scrolling at the bottom of the window to the right, specific attention must be paid to the ‘PMT Course’ and ‘Certification Payment’. For PMT to pass the test, the colour coding must either be green (meaning completed or exempted) or blue (meaning due in the future); and the certification payment must have a green colour coding.
  • Go to ‘Linked Firms’ and:
    • Verify that all the firms that you are linked to, and for which audit reports are required, reflect.
    • Check that all the audit reports in respect of all firms linked to were received and approved by Council (by scrolling at the bottom of the window to the right), except if the report was not yet due. Failure by any of the firms to meet the requirement will render the application unsuccessful.
    • Go to ‘Complete Application’.
    • Check that the application form prepopulates the member details, if not, use the refresh button.
    • Complete the application form until the end (this is in respect of all the firms linked to).
    • Click on ‘Submit Application’ to submit the completed form.
    • Go to ‘Issue Certificate’.
    • Verify that your name reflects on the right of the window.
    • Acknowledge correctness of the completed questionnaire.
    • Click on ‘Request Certificate’ to complete the process.
    • Your request for a certificate will be received by the LPC and processed further. The outcome of the application will be communicated via e-mail once the LPC has concluded processing the application.

Accessing the issued certificate

Go to Firm/Member Administration:

  • Click on Firm/Member Administration.
  • Select ‘MEM’ – Member under Participation Type Code and Participation Type Description.
  • Follow the exclamation mark and click on ‘Members’.
  • Select your name appearing on the bottom right of the window.
  • All tabs under ‘Members’ will become available and turn blue with green ticks.
  • Click on ‘Certificates’.
  • All issued certificates since inception of the FFC system will reflect.
  • Select the certificate you require.
  • You can now download, and/or view and print the certificate.

Click here to view ‘Guide on Functionality of the Fidelity Fund Certificates Application System‘ for more information.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.

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