Below are the answers to some common questions:
What is the FairLife Charity?
The FairLife Charity is a fully independent charity that has been established to benefit everyone in the UK by raising standards in finance and promoting financial education.
How long has the Charity been running?
The charity was structured in 2013 and subsequently registered with the Charities Commission in January 2016 (registration number 1165154).
Why do we need a fair trading mark?
As responsibility for financial decisions is shifted to the individual it is crucial that people are financially educated and the finance industry is trusted. For the finance industry to be trusted, we must provide the consumer with a visible sign that the industry has changed, a sign that the financial services industry is rebuilding trust. The FairLife Mark is designed to do this. Britain has a world-leading finance industry; we need the public to recognise those organisations that are working hard in their interests. Licence fees from the FairLife Mark fund financial education opportunities in our schools. (See Why improving financial education matters)
Why should I join now?
The early adopters of the FairLife Mark will stand out from their industry peers. Displaying the Mark illustrates their commitment to fair trading in finance and Consumer Duty and demonstrates how they are rebuilding trust and driving change toward a more consumer focused industry.
Where can I display the FairLife Mark?
The FairLife Mark can be displayed alongside all qualifying products. We encourage all supporters to display the Mark both online and in branch. The Mark can be displayed on relevant product literature, contracts etc.
Will the product criteria of the FairLife Mark change over time?
Over time it is possible that the product criteria may change in response to the changing marketplace. As the finance world evolves it will be in every company’s interest to work multi-laterally to protect the FairLife Charity’s brand and maintain the public’s trust.
In many branches of finance the FairLife Charity will act as a facilitator bringing about multi-lateral changes. Firms are most concerned that they compete on a level playing field and where changes are universal no firm suffers a relative disadvantage. The threshold required for the FairLife Charity to introduce a new criterion as is set at agreement of 75% or more of Mark holders. Where there are valid issues affecting specific subsets of companies, such as specific industries or size categories, these will be handled so as to accommodate the subset.
How do you deal with negative behaviour by mark holders?
Most early breaches of FairLife Mark criteria will be accidental as early adopters are keen to support the goals of the charity. Where evidence exists that a FairLife-marked product may not be treating customers fairly the mark may be removed and future marks denied.
Can I report a firm I believe is breaching the criteria of the FairLife Mark?
Yes. Insiders, competitors and the public can contact the charity by phone or email. This can be done so annoymously if preferred (see Report a Concern)
Why is the FairLife Mark a trademark and not an accrediation mark?
Accreditation works well in many cases, but can suffer from inherent weaknesses which our mark of integrity can avoid. As the FairLife Mark is registered as a trademark:
The FairLife Mark is awarded at the Charity’s discretion (no company can demand a FairLife Mark).
Award of the mark does not require an audit, helping the Charity to offer a solution that is both minimal cost and minimal administration burden to all sides. The decision to audit remains at the discretion of the charity.
Accreditation bodies may be beholden to the industries they accredit. A need for funding from the industry being accredited can cause issues and conflicts of interest. The broad nature of the FairLife Mark not only fosters public awareness but further strengthens the integrity of the mark in this way.
How do I promote the FairLife Charity?
We ask supporters to promote FairLife to both customers and the peer group. The initiative is stronger if good firms work together to raise standards and customer recognition will grow as the Mark is displayed around the UK.