Fair dealing in banking: what we do and how we do it

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    17 February 2020

    Key Takeaways

    • Fair Dealing guidelines outline how banks ought to interact and do business with customers
    • UOB’s culture – built on the principles of integrity, trust and respect – forms the basis for UOB Malaysia’s Business Banking’s Fair Dealing approach
    • The customer is central to UOB Business Banking, and all its engagements with customers are driven by the values of trust, transparency, respect and confidence

    In 2009, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued Guidelines on Fair Dealing – Board and Senior Management Responsibilities for Delivering Fair Dealing Outcomes to Customers1. The chief objective of these guidelines is to promote Fair Dealing at financial institutions and particularly in their business with customers, in an attempt to raise standards across the financial services industry.

    Fair Dealing is an important part of the banking culture at UOB Malaysia’s Business Banking and drives its relationships, particularly in terms of training, as well as its conduct and interactions with customers.

    The focus of the guidelines is on boards and senior-management teams assuming responsibility for the dissemination of Fair Dealing culture across institutions and preparing the strategy for it. While the guidelines apply specifically to investment products – their selection, marketing and distribution; advice for these products; and after-sales service and handling of customer complaints and feedback – the principles are applicable across all aspects of banking. 

    Based on the Fair Dealing guidelines, UOB Malaysia’s Business Banking segment looks to achieve the following outcomes: 

    • Provide customers with the confidence that they are dealing with an institution where Fair Dealing is central to the corporate culture
    • Offer products and services that are suitable for our customers
    • Ensure we have competent staff who can provide our customers with appropriate, high-quality advice and recommendations 
    • Provide our customers with clear, relevant and timely information for financial decision-making
    • Ensure customer complaints are handled independently and efficiently


    Speaking at the Symposium on Asian Banking and Finance in June 2019, Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, shed some light on Fair Dealing: “Disclosure alone is not enough,” he said. “Ask any consumer of financial products having to go through hundreds of pages of product disclosure written in unintelligible legalese2.” 

    He added that financial institutions must provide more transparency in at least three areas: 

    1. the risks involved in any investment that could result in a customer losing a significant amount of money;
    2. the predictions that have been made in support of return estimates and projections; and
    3. all the different fees, charges and commissions that are chargeable. 

    What is UOB Malaysia Business Banking doing around Fair Dealing?

    At UOB Malaysia’s Business Banking, our culture is built on the principles of integrity, trust and respect, which also form the basis of Fair Dealing. We are mindful of the importance of treating our customers fairly and diligently, and the values of Fair Dealing permeate every business banking activity and customer relationship. 

    We have in place policies and best practices that support the spirit of Fair Dealing in our organisational culture and day-to-day activities.

    Our Business Banking team, for example, has appointed a champion to drive Fair Dealing awareness and to embed its culture internally. New members of our team are taught about Fair Dealing principles when they first join the organisation – this helps us shape a culture of Fair Dealing. In fact, all our Business Banking staff must complete an e-learning module on Fair Dealing each year. Additionally, the importance of Fair Dealing is a commonly covered theme in internal-communication campaigns. 

    Besides creating an appropriate culture around Fair Dealing, we also ensure that we offer the right products and services to customers, and that we market them responsibly. Members of the Business Banking team specialise  in handling bancassurance products, for example. Staff are trained and certified in fact-finding and analysing the needs of the customer. They are also able to provide quality advice to customers—which is tailored to their risk profiles—in a timely manner so they can make the right decisions swiftly.  

    In keeping with the guidelines on Fair Dealing, we also have an independent party investigating all complaints and feedback, and taking action where appropriate. Customers can provide feedback on the bank or its products or services via a customer-service hotline or feedback form, both of which are available on the UOB website. 

    UOB Malaysia Business Banking has also introduced the Most Important Document, which does away with hard-to-understand legalese. Instead, it highlights major terms and conditions associated with proposed insurance plans in language that is simple and concise, so that customers can easily understand what they are signing up for. 

    Ultimately, Fair Dealing is about being as open and transparent with customers as possible so we can provide them with enough information to make informed choices about their financial activities. In order to make the lives of our customers simpler, we have been using technology and data to make banking simpler, smarter and safer. 

    Building on trust

    For more than 80 years now, we have successfully cultivated, nurtured and preserved relationships with our clients. Customer relationships are what we thrive on, and for us, they are driven by our principles of integrity, trust and respect. 

    Fair Dealing is but an extension of these principles. At UOB Malaysia Business Banking, we put the customer at the centre of what we do and how we go about our business. It is all about winning the confidence of the customer. 



    1 https://www.mas.gov.sg/regulation/guidelines/guidelines-on-fair-dealing---board-and-senior-management-responsibilities-for-delivering-fair-dealing-outcomes-to-customers

    2 https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/banking-finance/with-unintelligible-legalese-disclosure-not-enough-in-fair-dealing-mas-chief

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