Whistleblower Policy.

Whistleblower Policy.

1. Introduction.

The Fidelity Group being Fidelity Life and its wholly owned subsidiaries 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 the Group, and should always practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling their responsibilities to Fidelity Life and the Group and comply with applicable laws and regulations.

This policy has been developed so that People can raise actual or allegations of Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing about the Group 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 Serious Wrongdoing about any company in the Group or its activities.

2. Scope.

This policy applies to all People.

3. Purpose.

This policy has the following objectives:

  • to promote public and customer interests in the Group by encouraging its People to report any Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing about the Group or its activities;
  • to provide People details of the kind of Serious Concerns and Serous Wrongdoing about the Group or its activities that can be reported and the reporting process;
  • to advise 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) when a Protected Disclosure is made; and
  • to provide an avenue for alerting any company in the Group to and addressing any misconduct.

4. Good Customer Outcome Principles.

The Group must, at all times, consider its Good Customer Outcome Principles, Trust, Value and Clarity.

5. Policy outline.

a. What sorts of Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing should be reported?

The Group encourages People to report any Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing about the Group or its activities. Otherwise known as a ‘whistleblower,’ this is a person who raises a genuine Serious Concern or Serious Wrongdoing about the Group or its activities:

‘Serious Concern’ includes:

  • Calling out poor culture or conduct
  • Breach of the Group’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 People

'Serious Wrongdoing', as defined by the Act, and includes any serious wrongdoing of the following types:

    • an unlawful, corrupt, or irregular use of company funds or resources;
    • an act, omission, or course of conduct that constitutes:
      • a serious risk to public health or public safety or the environment;
      • a serious risk to the maintenance of law, including the prevention, investigation and detection of offences and the right to a fair trial;
      • 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.

 

b. How to report Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing.

The Group wants to ensure its People are able to voice allegations of Serious Concerns or Serious Wrongdoing about the Group or its activities openly and honestly under this policy, and to report all matters in good faith.

If People are uncertain about raising a Serious Concern or Serous Wrongdoing, they should report it regardless and it will be addressed in accordance with this policy or otherwise as appropriate.

People have a range of options to speak up if they notice something that’s not right.

People can report a Serious Concern by:

  • letter, email or telephone to the Chairperson of Fidelity Life’s Audit & Risk Committee;
  • letter, email or telephone to the Chairperson of Fidelity Insurance’s Audit & Risk Committee;
  • letter, email or telephone to Fidelity Life’s or Fidelity Insurance’s Chief Executive Officer;
  • letter, email or telephone to Fidelity Life’s Head of People and Performance;
  • letter, email or telephone to Fidelity Life’s Chief Risk Officer; or
  • contacting Raise, an independent reporting service, via the whistleblower notification hotline on 0800 000 457 or the whistleblower notification website on https://www.raisementalhealth.co.nz/whistleblower.html

It is important that the person the disclosure is reported to is independent of the issue. People may seek the support of People and Culture or Risk and Compliance in making a report.

People may also make a report anonymously.

Protected Disclosure.

Reporting a Serious Wrongdoing will be a ‘Protected Disclosure’ (see paragraph c below) under the Act if:

  • the information is about a Serious Wrongdoing in or by the Group;
  • the Disclosing Person believes on reasonable grounds that the information is true or likely to be true;
  • the Disclosing Person wants to disclose the information so that the Serious Wrongdoing can be investigated;
  • the Disclosing Person wants the matter investigated; and
  • the Disclosing Person wants the disclosure to be protected.

 

c. What are the protections under the Act?

Protections under the Act only apply to Serious Wrongdoing.

Protections under the Act will only apply to a Disclosing Person reporting a Serious Wrongdoing in the manner described above for Protected Disclosure. Where the criteria has been met, the Disclosing Person will have the following protections:

  • 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 Person’s identity will be kept confidential subject to the exceptions described in paragraph d.

Where a Disclosing Person believes they have suffered retaliatory action, that Person may bring a personal grievance under the Employment Relations Act 2000.

Where a Disclosing 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 Person knows that the allegations are false; or
  • the Disclosing Person acts in bad faith.

Fidelity Life and Fidelity Insurance 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 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, the Group will use best endeavours not to disclose information that might identify the Disclosing Person in relation to a Protected Disclosure, unless:

  • that Disclosing Person has consented in writing to the disclosure of that information;
  • disclosure:
    • 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.

While confidentiality under the Act only applies to a Protected Disclosure, the Group will use reasonable endeavours to ensure that the Disclosing Person who reports an allegation about a Serious Concern is also kept confidential.

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 Person will be kept informed of progress as appropriate.

6. Review.

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 Fidelity Life Board and the Fidelity Insurance Board and ensure that any revisions to this policy are approved by the Fidelity Life Board and endorsed by the Fidelity Insurance Board. A copy of this policy will be available through the relevant Company website(s).

7. Related policies.

  • Protected Disclosures Act 2000 (“the Act”)
  • Group Whistleblower Procedures Document
  • Relevant Company Conflicts of Interest Policy
  • Relevant Company Delegated Authority Policy
  • Group Contracts Policy
  • Group Vulnerable Customer Policy
  • FSC Code of Conduct

8. Definitions.

Disclosing Person An Employee reporting information about a Serious Concern or Serious Wrongdoing
Protected Disclosure  A report of a Serious Wrongdoing made in the manner described in the Act
Employee(s)

Also includes the meaning as provided in the Protected Disclosures Act 2000:

  • A former employee
  • A homeworker, within the meaning of section 5 of the Employment Relations Act 2000
  • A person seconded to the Group
  • An individual who is engaged or contracted under a contract for services to do work for the Group
  • A person concerned in the management of the Group (including a person who is a member of the board(s) or governing body of the Group)
  • A person who works for the Group as a volunteer without reward or expectation of reward for that work
Fidelity Life Means Fidelity Life Assurance Company Limited
Fidelity Insurance Means Fidelity Insurance Limited
the Group Means Fidelity Life Assurance Company Limited and its wholly owned subsidiaries
People Means all Employees, directors and contractors of the Group including (i) full-time and part-time employees (including casual and fixed-term employees) carrying out work for Fidelity Life and its wholly owned subsidiaries and (ii) any person engaged to work at Fidelity Life and its wholly owned subsidiaries including an independent contractor and agency worker

Fidelity Life’s Chief Risk Officer

Means the Chief Risk Officer of Fidelity Life who provide their services to its wholly owned subsidiaries

Fidelity Life’s Head of People Performance Means the Head of People Performance who provide their services to its wholly owned subsidiaries
Company Any company in the Group
Serious Concern As defined in this policy
Serious Wrongdoing As defined in the Act

Policy History.

Revision Date Author Description
Feb 2019 Risk & Compliance

Update of policy

May 2019 Risk & Compliance

Updates

February 2022 Risk & Compliance

Update of policy to a Group policy