Filing a Complaint


CIFFA takes complaints against Member firms seriously and has a mechanism to handle complaints.

Complaints, however they are received, are recorded.  Complaints which have been filed on the appropriate form are investigated by the Secretariat and when warranted are forwarded to the Chair of the Ethics Committee of the National Board of Directors.  At the discretion of the Chair of the Ethics Committee, complaints may be reviewed by the National Board of Directors and further action taken.

The association does not investigate or take action on commercial disputes.  If a Member is found to have breached the Code of Ethics, the only sanction that the association can implement is to cancel the Membership of the company.


  1. Complaints are received via the on-line complaint form found on the CIFFA website at CIFFA Ethics Complaint Form and forwarded to the Executive Director via
  2. The Executive Director conducts a preliminary investigation, determining if the complaint is in breach of the CIFFA Code of Ethics, particularly with regard to honesty, integrity, standard of competence, conscientiousness, diligence and efficiency.  The first two items on the CIFFA Code of Ethics are open to interpretation/definition.
  3. The CIFFA Member must discharge its duties with honesty and integrity.
  4. The CIFFA Member pledges a standard of competence to its client, to perform in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner, services undertaken on the client’s behalf.
  5. If the complaint is not considered to be in breach of the Code of Ethics, the Executive Director communicates to the Member firm and to the person filing the complaint that the complaint has been reviewed and no further action will be taken.
  6. If the complaint appears to be in breach of the Code of Ethics, the Executive Director advises the Chair of the Ethics Committee.
  7. In consultation, the Chair of the Ethics Committee and the Executive Director agree on the next steps to be taken.

Next steps may include:

  1. Formal notification to the Member firm of the complaint with a request for response.
  2. Formal notification back to the complainant on decision.
  3. To Review Member firm’s response and previous complaints against the Member firm (if there are any).
  4. If the matter is before the courts, defer action until after a determination has been made by the courts.
  5. Notification to the Member that they appear to have acted unethically with a detailed review and that the complaint will be presented to the National Board of Directors.
  6. Formal letter to Member firm with the decision of the Board of Directors, which may be:
  7. Letter outlining why the Member appears to be in breach of the Code of Ethics and advising that action must be taken to prevent such a breach in the future.
  8. In this event, the Executive Director follows up with the Member firm to ensure a preventive action plan has been introduced.
  9. Notification that their membership in CIFFA has been cancelled, with immediate loss of benefit and without refund.

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CIFFA is not a law firm and does not have any lawyer or any other person qualified to give legal advice on staff. CIFFA offers its Members general guidance and assistance based on the collected experience of its Members and staff, and does so gratuitously and without liability for loss or damage of any kind for the use or misuse of this information, even if the loss or damage is caused or contributed to by CIFFA’s own negligence or the negligence of its employees.


Only a lawyer qualified and licensed to practice in your jurisdiction and properly retained can provide legal advice. If you are of the opinion that you may have a legal problem, you should seek the advice of a qualified professional.