Fidelity Life Assurance Company Limited (“Fidelity Life”) wishes to ensure that its people observe a high standard of business and personal ethics while carrying out their duties for, and responsibilities to Fidelity Life, and should always practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling their responsibilities to Fidelity Life and comply with applicable laws and regulations.
This policy has been developed so that Fidelity Life People can raise Serious Concerns or Serous Wrongdoing about Fidelity Life or its activities, without fear of recrimination and have confidence that their concerns will be addressed. This policy sets out the processes for reporting, investigating and addressing allegations of any Serious Concerns or Serous Wrongdoing about Fidelity Life or its activities.
This policy applies to all Fidelity Life People, meaning all directors, employees (current and former), contractors, secondees and volunteers.
This policy has the following objectives:
- To promote public and customer interests in Fidelity Life by encouraging its people to report any Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing about Fidelity Life or its activities;
- To provide Fidelity Life People details of the kind of Serious Concerns and Serious Wrongdoing about Fidelity Life or its activities that can be reported and the reporting process;
- To advise Fidelity Life People of the protections available to them (e.g. identity kept confidential, protection from civil and criminal liability), regardless of their role or seniority;
- To ensure that all matters are investigated appropriately, and that specific action is taken to remedy any Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing;
- To comply with the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 (the Act provides that no civil, criminal, or disciplinary proceedings can be taken against a person for making a protected disclosure, or for referring one to an appropriate authority); and
- To provide an avenue for alerting Fidelity Life to and addressing any misconduct.
4. Policy/Procedure Outline
a) What sorts of Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing should be reported
Fidelity Life encourages its people to report any Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing about Fidelity Life or its activities. Otherwise known as a ‘whistleblower,’ this is a person who raises a genuine Serious Concern or Serious Wrongdoing about Fidelity Life or its activities.
‘Serious Concern’ includes
- calling out poor culture or conduct
- breach of the Company’s Code of Conduct and/or Ethics
- breach of any Company Policy
- unsafe work practice or environment
- bullying and harassment
- suspicion of fraud and corruption
- abuse of authority by Fidelity Life People
‘Serious Wrongdoing’, is defined by the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 (the Act), and includes any serious wrongdoing of the following types:
- an unlawful, corrupt, or irregular use of funds or resources of a public sector organisation;
- an act, omission, or course of conduct that constitutes:
- a serious risk to public health or public safety or the environment; or
- a serious risk to the maintenance of law, including the prevention, investigation and detection of offences and the right to a fair trial; or
- a criminal offence; or
- an act, omission, or course of conduct by a public official that is oppressive, improperly discriminatory, or grossly negligent, or that constitutes gross mismanagement.
If a Fidelity Life person is uncertain about raising a Serious Concern or Serious Wrongdoing, they should report it regardless and it will be addressed in accordance with this policy or otherwise as appropriate.
b) How to report Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing
Fidelity Life wants to ensure that Fidelity Life People are able to voice allegations of Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing about Fidelity Life or its activities openly and honestly under this policy, and to report all matters in good faith.
A Fidelity Life Person can report Serious Concerns or Serous Wrongdoing relating to Fidelity Life, if:
- they believe on reasonable grounds that the information is true or likely to be true;
- they identify that they are reporting a Serious Concern or Serious Wrongdoing under this policy;
- they want the matter investigated; and
- they want the disclosure to be protected.
Fidelity Life People have a range of options to speak up if they notice something that’s not right.
Reporting a Serious Wrongdoing through the following methods will automatically ensure the protections described in paragraph C below.
A Fidelity Life Person can report a Serious Concern or Serious Wrongdoing by:
- letter, email or telephone to the Chairperson of Fidelity Life’s Audit & Risk Committee;
- letter, email or telephone to Fidelity Life’s Chief Executive Officer;
- letter, email or telephone to Fidelity Life’s Chief People Officer;
- letter, email or telephone to Fidelity Life’s Chief Risk Officer; or
- to EAP Works an independent reporting service via the whistleblower notification hotline on 0800 000 457 or the whistleblower notification website on https://eapworks.co.nz/whistleblower-hotline/
It is important that the person the disclosure is reported to is independent of the issue. A Fidelity Life Person may seek the support of People and Culture in making a report.
A Fidelity Life person may also make a report anonymously.
c) What are the Protections?
Protections under the Act only apply to Serious Wrongdoing.
A disclosing Fidelity Life Person’s identity has the following protections under the Act:
- be immune from any civil or criminal proceedings by reason of having made a protected disclosure; and
- be protected from retaliatory or adverse treatment as a result of disclosure, including:
- Discrimination or bias;
- Victimisation or harassment;
- Any employment disadvantage such as dismissal or disciplinary action.
A disclosing Fidelity Life Person’s identity will be kept confidential subject to the exceptions as set out in the Act and described in paragraph d.
Where a disclosing Fidelity Life Person believes they have suffered retaliatory action, that Fidelity Life Person may bring a personal grievance under the Employment Relations Act 2000.
Where a disclosing Fidelity Life Person believes they have been treated less favourably than others in the same circumstances because that they made a disclosure, they can make a claim under the Human Rights Act 1993.
However, the protections above do not apply if:
- the disclosing Fidelity Life Person knows that the allegations are false; or
- the disclosing Fidelity Life Person acts in bad faith.
Fidelity Life People must not threaten or retaliate against whistleblowers in any way or reveal their identity without consent. Anyone involved in such conduct will be subject to disciplinary action.
d) Investigating Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing
A disclosing Fidelity Life Person can feel confident that their disclosure will be handled appropriately and acted upon. Once a matter has been reported, the most appropriate person may either undertake an investigation of the alleged Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing or appoint another person to undertake that investigation. The person who undertakes the investigation must be unbiased, impartial and subject to appropriate confidentiality protocols.
During the investigation, Fidelity Life will use best endeavours not to disclose information that might identify the disclosing Fidelity Life Person, unless:
- that Person has consented in writing to the disclosure of that information;
- is essential to the effective investigation of the allegations in the protected disclosure; or
- is essential to prevent serious risk to public health or safety, or the environment; or
- is essential having regard to the principles of natural justice.
All Fidelity Life People must comply with any investigation relating to this policy.
Decisions may be made only when all parties involved (or alleged to be involved) in any Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing have been given an opportunity to be heard. They must be:
- given reasonable notice of any interview;
- advised that they may be represented at the interview; and
- given a reasonable opportunity and period of time to respond to the allegation.
The person who investigates the allegation must produce a written report which sets out the nature of the allegation, any responses to it, any supporting evidence, and an assessment of the allegation with recommendations.
The disclosing Fidelity Life Person will be kept informed of progress as appropriate.
The Audit & Risk Committee will review, and assess, the adequacy of this policy every three years, and discuss any required or recommended changes with the Board and ensure that any revisions to this policy are approved by the Board. A copy of this policy will be available to shareholders through Fidelity Life’s website.
6. Related Policies
- Conflicts of Interest Policy
- Delegated Authority Policy
- Contracts Policy and Procedures.