THE USE OF ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES AND PRE-POPULATED DOCUMENTS
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) is aware of the use of electronic signatures of clients during the rendering of financial services and has issued this Communication to guide Financial Services Providers (FSPs) on the use of electronic signatures.
Sections 12 and 13 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 25 of 2002 (ECTA) make provision for the use of an advanced electronic signature where the law requires a particular document to be in writing and signed by the parties. In the absence of a legal obligation to do so, but where parties choose to make use of an electronic signature, they must take reasonable steps to ensure that the electronic signature is reliable.
Further, the Communication requires FSPs to take cognizance of section 7(2) of the General Code of Conduct for Authorised FSPs and Representatives, 2009 (the General Code), which prohibits an FSP from requesting a client to sign a written or printed form or document unless all the required details have been included in the form or document.
FSPs should not engage in the practice of using a scanned / electronic version of a client’s signature and inserting it onto pre-populated forms or documents. This is contrary to the spirit of section 7(2) of the General Code.
In summary, FSPs are reminded to always render financial services honestly, fairly, with due skill, care and diligence, in the interests of the clients and the integrity of the financial services industry.
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