Corporate Governance Complaints Procedures
The Society endeavours to maintain high standards of integrity and fairness when dealing with its members. However, should a complaint arise, the Society would follow the complaints procedure advocated by the Financial Services Authority. This procedure includes the right of referral to the Financial Ombudsman Service if the complaint cannot be resolved by the Society.
The Society's Committee is accountable to the Society's members for the operation of the Society and regards good corporate governance as fundamental to this responsibility. Corporate governance, often defined as the way a firm is controlled and directed from within, has been the subject of increasing focus for mutual organisations both internally and from the regulators.
The Corporate Governance Code for mutual insurers (the Annotated Combined Code for Mutual Insurers (July 2005) as amplified by the Best Practice Guidelines for Mutual Insurers (December 2005) became effective from 1 January 2006. The Combined Code was updated in June 2010 and is now called the UK Corporate Governance Code. The UK Corporate Governance Code as Annotated for Mutual Insurers was issued in October 2010.
It is our policy to adhere to the Code wherever appropriate for an organisation of our size and status or to explain why we think a deviation from the Code is acceptable or necessary.
The Committee is satisfied that its range of expertise and experience is appropriate for the current needs of the Society.
All Committee Members have access to both independent professional advice, as necessary, and the advice and services of the Secretary, who is responsible to the Committee for ensuring its procedures are complied with. The Secretary, who is also the Society's Chief Executive, is also responsible for ensuring good information flows to the Committee. The Committee is satisfied that he carries out these duties effectively. Both the appointment and removal of the Secretary is a matter for the Committee as a whole.
The following decisions are reserved for the Committee: Approval of accounts Approval of FSC Returns Investment policy Approval of appointment of outsourcing arrangements and contracts with third parties Recommendation of changes to the Memorandum and Rules of the Society to be proposed at the Society's AGM
In the opinion of the Committee, all non-executive Committee Members are considered to be independent. It should be noted that under the Combined Code the responsibilities of Committee Members are equivalent to those of non-executive directors.
The roles of the Chairman and Chief Executive remained separate during 2011 and are distinct in their purpose. The Chairman is responsible for leadership of the Committee and ensuring that the Committee acts effectively. The Chief Executive has overall responsibility for managing the Society.
Annual General Meeting of the Society
All adult members are entitled to attend and vote at the Society's Annual General Meeting. All proposals are decided by a simple majority unless the Rules of the Society specify otherwise. All members receive individual notification of the AGM. Those unable to attend the AGM may appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf.
Treating Customers Fairly
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) which regulates the work of the Society has a number of special initiatives, one of which is called "Treating Customers Fairly". This is a long-term project aimed at improving the way in which customers are treated by all financial services organisations. Bus Employee's Friendly Society prides itself on the high standard of service it provides to its members, but it is reviewing all its activities to identify any areas where we may be falling short so that the necessary remedial action can be taken.
The Society continually reviews its exposure to financial crime and takes appropriate measures including anti-fraud and anti-money laundering training to mitigate these risks.