The Association of Financial Intermediaries and Financial Advisors of the Czech Republic (AFIZ) was constituted in 2002, initially as a professional association for investment intermediaries; however, as from 2005 it has extended its activity into intermediaries providing all financial products.
The Association is set up as a professional, self-regulated organisation with the aim of accepting some of the responsibilities of state supervision in the field of the intermediation of financial products. For its members, AFIZ has created a professional back office with a strong service element and works very closely with the state financial authorities, enabling it to influence the legislation process directly on behalf of the work of financial intermediaries – members of the Association. The function of the Association is focused on the development and growth of the financial services market in the Czech Republic, including the present improvement of the entrepreneurial and consumer environment in this field, with the emphasis on consumer/investor protection. AFIZ participates in the implementation of rules and regulations which support the principles of honest business practices, protection of good ethical standards and, therefore, strengthening the confidence of the general public in the financial market. In the course of its activities, AFIZ utilises experience from outside the Czech Republic, which it can draw upon through its membership of the European Federation of Financial Intermediaries and Financial Advisers (FECIF); as the only Eastern European market, AFIZ has a representative on the Board of Directors of FECIF.
Education forms a significant part in the activities of AFIZ and, to support this it presents conferences, panel discussions on current topics, in particular in the area of new legislation, and a number of professional seminars, including professional training required to obtain the Czech National Bank registration for an Investment Intermediary. Acknowledged experts in specific areas of the financial market participate in the preparation of the seminars and the conference premises are chosen to provide a pleasant and comfortable environment for all participants. AFIZ members have significant discounts for educational events at their disposal and, for the majority of seminars, there are free tickets available for secondary school students, colleges and universities which focus on economics. A contribution to the UNICEF fund is allocated from each seminar to support its programmes.
With effect from April 1, 2006, AFIZ is authorised to organise qualification tests for subordinated insurance intermediaries and tied insurance intermediaries which are necessary to obtain the basic level of professional competence. AFIZ, in cooperation with Masaryk University in Brno, has prepared a consistent certification system for financial specialists.
At present, AFIZ consists of 10 corporate and almost 1300 individual members; its Articles of Association ensure balanced rights for both forms of membership.
AFIZ is aware that proficiency and ethical principles help to promote and achieve good business and it is inspired by these basic business principles and builds its activities on three main pillars: Priorities of Members, Ethics and Proficiency.
The Association has at its disposal a professionally set up back office with staff of a very high standard and can provide its members with a complete professional service in all areas of its activities.
To our members we provide two main services:
Of course, the Professional services differ for corporate and individual members because both groups have their unique requirements.
Corporate Members can also use the service COMPLIANCE a AUDIT. Within this service we provide an assessment of implementation of the State Regulator requirements within the company activities.
Professional CONSULTANT services covering, in particular, legal advice if a state inspection, or administrative proceeding occurs from the regulator.
Professional CONSULTATION associated with performance of the intermediary activity in the field of insurance and investment intermediation.
Professional TRAINING which is required in order to obtain a Czech National Bank registration of an Investment Intermediary.
Members can also SHARE information and PARTICIPATE in the work of the association, in particular of the legislative and legal committee of AFIZ and, through these means, they can assist in the implementation of the output of this Committee in the legislation process in close cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and the Czech National Bank.
Individual members – which are private entities providing intermediary services within the financial market as a self employed person, regardless of whether they cooperate with a specific legal entity (for example an insurance agent, broker, building society, retirement fund, an entrepreneur with securities, an investment company, or a consulting or intermediary company) or not. On the contrary, even if such a company, existing as a legal entity, is a member of the Association, this does not provide automatic membership for all of its cooperating individuals; they must individually decide whether or not to become individual member of AFIZ and only as an individual member are they eligible to receive the benefits assigned to members of AFIZ.
Individual members can also:
PARTICIPATE in the AFIZ professional committees, which directly enter the legislation process through their own proposals, as well as in the form of objection proceedings within the framework of the legislation process in close cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and the Czech National Bank.
AFIZ has participated in the development of SPECIALIZED SOFTWARE – the Client Information System (KIS), by which means the intermediaries and advisors are able to register all necessary information regarding clients and products conveyed to them; KIS also includes a user-friendly application for the maintenance of compulsory evidence of reception and transmission of orders of the investment intermediary.
DISCOUNTS FOR SEMINARS Presented by the Association for professional public. ACCESS TO SEMINARS Presented by the Association exclusively for members.
A 40% DISCOUNT on the cost of the professional magazine Finanční poradce (Financial advisor)
E-mail box with the address: name.surname (at) afiz.cz with access by mail clients as well as through the web interface whereby the box can be set up on –line.
Personal member WEB BUSINESS CARD A prospective client can easily search for a financial intermediary and contact him/her thanks to the information provided. We always show the basic data normally included on a business card (name, surname, membership number and the member‘s e-mail), but also additional relevant information with which the AFIZ member has both provided to us and also agreed to their general publication (photograph, telephone, address, professional biography etc).
Access to the INTRANET MEMBER SECTION Web www.afiz.cz, containing up to date information.
The membership card is printed at a specialist printing house which deals with confidential information and contains several protective elements such as a positive and negative watermark, micro type, fibres visible under UV lamp, sight check mark and numbering with colour reacting to UV radiation and, in addition, a hologram with the signature of the first deputy chairman of the Board of Directors of AFIZ is bonded to the photograph prior to the card being laminated; the card has dimensions similar to an ID card and the text is in both English and Czech with, on the reverse side, some basic information on the Association.