Griffin James Limited (Griffin James) – Client Monies Policy
The objectives of RICS Client Money Handling policy are:
- To keep client money safe
- To ensure client money accounts are used for only appropriate purposes
- To ensure RICS regulated firms have appropriate controls and procedures to sfeguard client money
Griffin James is a member of the RICS Client Money Protection Scheme for Surveying Services.
Griffin James operates a general client monies account, accompanied by a case by case client ledger account, updated every time a payment is made or a receipt recorded to always show the current position of a particularly client’s case by case holdings.
The Griffin James client account is under the exclusive control of Griffin James Limited.
Holding Client Money
Griffin James hold all client money in a client money account over which Griffin James Limited has exclusive control. Our client account is provided by HSBC, a duly authorised UK bank.
Our client money account does not contain any sums other than client money.
We will not hold office money in the client account unless it is mixed monies awaiting transfer.
Our client account has the word ‘client’ in the title.
Money held in our client account is instantly available on demand.
Information for Clients
In our terms of engagement, we will confirm to clients that all client’s money will be held in a designated client account, that Griffin James has exclusive control over that account and that the account is held by Griffin James.
We will advise clients who pay fees in advance that such a payment is not covered by the Client Money Protection Scheme.
Unidentified funds will be donated to a registered charity after 3 years.
Receipts of Client Monies
We will ensure:
- All client money received is paid into a client money account promptly.
- That when mixed monies are received, the receipt is paid into a client account and the office money transferred to an office account promptly.
- Ensure that where client instructions re to hold only part of a payment the whole payment is placed into a client money account before transferring the relevant part out promptly.
- Account for interest or other benefits accruing to the client unless, unless otherwise agreed (Griffin James client account is non-interest-bearing).
- Take prompt action to attempt to identify the owner of any unidentified client money received and pay this from a client money account to a registered charity where the owner cannot be identified after three years from receipt and all avenues of investigation have been exhausted.
- Obtain a receipt and indemnity for all client money paid to a registered charity that would reimburse the firm for payment of the monies if a beneficiary is subsequently identified.
Payments from Client Account
In relation to payments from the Client Account, Griffin James will:
- Use each client’s money only for that client’s matters.
- Ensure client money is returned to the client immediately as soon as there is no longer any reason to retain those funds, and any further payments received (e.g. by refunds) are paid to the client immediately.
- Ensure all payments from client money accounts are made to or on behalf of a client and on that client’s written instructions or as agreed.
- Where fees are due and payable, unless the client has given written authorisation for deduction of agreed fees without prior notification, send an invoice or other written notification of the costs incurred to the client before withdrawing money from a client money account for payment of the firm’s fees, and then transfer those monies out of the client account promptly.
- Check that sufficient funds are held in the relevant client account before making any payments on their behalf
- Obtain written permission from client for any direct debits and standing orders on general and discrete client bank accounts.
- Obtain written agreement from the client before bank costs are recharged to client bank accounts.
Accounting Records and Controls
Griffin James will:
- Keep records and accounts through the use of accounting software and case specific records that show all dealings with the client money and demonstrate that all client money held by the firm is held in a client money account.
- Have appropriate systems, procedures and controls to ensure payments into and transfers or withdrawals from a client account are in accordance with instructions agreed with the client. Griffin James will require these instructions to be made in writing.
- Complete regular client account reconciliations and demonstrate thar these are reviewed by a principal or senior staff member.
- Publish written procedures for handling client money on the firm’s website and provide a copy of these to RICS or to any person who may reasonably require a copy free of charge.
- Ensure that overdrawn balances are prevented by the firm’s systems and controls and these do occur investigate and rectify them immediately.
- Control and protect accounting systems and client data and adequately protect computer systems for access, firewalls, back-ups and disaster recovery.
Griffin James will:
- Ensure compliance with all UK anti-money laundering legislation, rules and regulations for all receipts of client money.
- Ensure compliance with the mandatory requirements of the latest edition of the RICS professional statement Countering bribery and corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing.
- Obtain any and all certification necessary under legislation currently in force and follow any requirements in legislation for display or publication.
- Ensure any breach of these requirements is investigated and remedied promptly on discovery, including the replacement of any money improperly withheld of withdrawn from a client account.
- Record any breach of the mandatory requirements of this professional statement in writing in sufficient detail, including any consideration of whether to inform RICS and any client affected by the breach.
- Not override any controls in place to protect client money.
- Inform RICS, the client and insurers of the RICS regulated firm immediately if client money is mis-appropriated by any person.