Skip to main content

Article 2: Disclosure and Transparency

C 8/2020 Effective from 25/12/2020

2.1 Disclosure

2.1.1 Introduction

Quality, accuracy, completeness and effectiveness of the information provided to Consumers are fundamental to an open, transparent and competitive Market. Consumers must be proactively provided with all the information necessary to make an informed decision regarding Financial Products and/or Services.

2.1.2 Description

  1. A Licensed Financial Institution’s Board and Senior Management are responsible for providing direction and oversight to ensure that good disclosure practices for Financial Products and/or Services are adopted throughout the institution.
  2. Information must be provided in a proactive and transparent manner to allow a Consumer sufficient time to understand the information, including the terms and conditions.
  3. Licensed Financial Institutions must use specific disclosure mechanisms, including warnings, to inform Consumers of the key characteristics of and limitations on the product and/or service including associated risks, costs, fees, interest/profit rates, tenor, locked terms, or other pertinent issues relating to the product and/or service.
  4. Licensed Financial Institutions must provide effective disclosure at all stages of the relationship with the Consumer. Consumers must be made aware in advance of any permissible change in terms and conditions through all stages of the relationship.
  5. Licensed Financial Institutions must not provide only partial or biased disclosure to entice a Consumer by limiting the initial disclosure material that only presents the positive aspects of the product and/or service and only then disclosing the full characteristics of the product at the point of sale or post-sale, a point at which the Consumer may feel obligated to complete the transaction(s) or do not have a recourse to exit the Product and/or Service post-sale.
  6. Licensed Financial Institutions must continuously monitor and improve the effectiveness of its disclosures with techniques including and not limited to Complaint analysis and Consumer satisfaction surveys.
  7. The information must be disclosed in plain language that is accessible and communicated in terms that are easily understandable.
  8. Information must be available in both official languages English & Arabic.
  9. The method or manner of disclosure must be adjusted to meet the capabilities and level of understanding of the Consumer.
  10. Licensed Financial Institutions must ensure the accuracy of all disclosures made including the verification and correctness of statement and any related calculation, assumption or reference.

2.2 Transparency

2.2.1 Introduction

Transparency is positive conduct, which complements Disclosure. Transparency goes beyond the simple act of disclosure regarding a product and/or service provided to a Consumer. It means that Licensed Financial Institutions must proactively provide useful information and advice in the Market.

2.2.2 Description

  1. Licensed Financial Institutions must provide practical and suitable options to help Consumers make informed decisions that are in Consumers’ best interest including assessment of affordability and suitability.
  2. Licensed Financial Institutions must promote, sell, distribute and manage Financial Products and/or Services in a responsible manner. Licensed Financial Institutions must not knowingly benefit from Consumers’ ignorance or apathy as to, including and not limited to, possible choices, the impact of risks, affordability, suitability, Conflict of Interest with the Staff.
  3. Licensed Financial Institutions must take necessary steps to ensure that Consumers are made aware of and understand the proposed terms & conditions prior to the final stage of the sales process or the time of signing of the agreement.
  4. Licensed Financial Institutions must be transparent in their pricing and product structure.

2.3 Responsible Advertising and Marketing

2.3.1 Introduction

Advertising and marketing can utilize multiple channels to access the public for the promotion of a Licensed Financial Institution and its Products and/or Services. Advertising issued by Licensed Financial Institutions must not be deceptive, misleading, fraudulent or unfair and must be easily understandable by a Consumer. All text and numbers must be clearly visible and understandable.

2.3.2 Description

  1. Advertising and marketing activities and promotional materials must be designed, delivered and clearly identified as a financial promotion.
  2. Licensed Financial Institutions must not make any representation, omission, or engage in any Advertising and marketing activity that is likely to be deceptive, misleading, fraudulent or unfair.
  3. Licensed Financial Institutions must not exaggerate the advantages of a product and/or service or present the information in a confusing manner. This includes general impressions conveyed through words, pictures, digital images, audio and/or video, and the use of disclaimers not clearly and prominently disclosed and displayed.
  4. All Advertising and marketing material must be in plain and understandable language.
  5. The Regulation and accompanying Standards apply to any Advertising and marketing activity through all channels, including and not limited to branches, television, radio, website, mobile applications, automated teller machines (ATMs), telephone banking, account statements, social media and public media comprised of any form of audio, visual and print content.