In the third part of our series on the IFoAs Disciplinary Scheme, we explore what happens at a disciplinary tribunal panel
In the third part of our series on the IFoA's Disciplinary Scheme, we explore what happens at a disciplinary tribunal panel
You have just heard an allegation against you has been referred by the adjudication panel to a disciplinary tribunal panel.
The case manager and investigation actuary who were investigating the allegation now act for the IFoA and become the prosecutors of the allegation. They will prepare a formal charge that will then be served on you and submitted to the disciplinary tribunal panel. You will then be advised and consulted by the secretary of the panel as to the date, time, and location of the hearing.
What is a charge and what should I do?
A charge is the formal document setting out that you are charged with misconduct, as defined in the IFoA Disciplinary Scheme, and as such have fallen below the standards of behaviour, integrity, competence or professional judgment that other members or the public might reasonably expect. It will set out the specific issues that are considered to contribute to misconduct and will include a statement of all the material facts with the evidence relied upon in support of the charge of misconduct.
You have the opportunity to submit a written defence to the charge. The IFoA is unable to advise you on how to prepare your defence. You may choose to represent yourself, but it is strongly recommended that you seek legal representation and advice. You have a period of 21 days from service of the charge to submit your written defence.
What happens at the disciplinary tribunal panel?
This is a public hearing, where a panel will decide whether the allegations against you amount to misconduct. The panel comprises at least three people - a mix of IFoA members and 'lay' members - and is advised by a legal adviser. It follows the procedures adopted in UK civil courts, with each party (the IFoA and you, and respective legal advisers) introducing their case, calling witnesses who may be cross-examined by the other party. Both sides have the opportunity to make a closing submission.
The panel then has to decide on the balance of probabilities:
- Whether you did behave in the way alleged - in other words, whether the facts alleged against you have been proven
- If so, whether that behaviour amounted to misconduct
- If so, whether one or more sanctions should be imposed.
As this is a principles-based test, a number of minor breaches of professional standards may not amount collectively to misconduct, whereas a single but more serious breach may amount to misconduct.
What are the possible sanctions?
A disciplinary tribunal panel has a wide variety of sanctions available to it, ranging from a fine to expulsion from the IFoA for up to five years. It also has the power to award costs against you.
What happens after a disciplinary tribunal panel?
A fully reasoned written determination will normally be provided to you within 10 days of the hearing, and will then be published in full on the IFoA website and in summary in The Actuary. It will record which of the allegations were found to be proved or not proved. The document will put the panel's decisions in context and explain its reasons as to whether there has been a finding of misconduct and for any sanctions imposed. It is important to remember that even where some allegations have been found to be proved, it is not necessarily the case that each one individually will amount to misconduct. The panel will make its decisions having regard to all of the allegations found to be proved.
As the respondent, you have a right of appeal against any adverse decision of the disciplinary tribunal panel under grounds set out in the Disciplinary Scheme.
More information is available at www.actuaries.org.uk