FIDI’s Professional Cooperation Guidelines Committee launched new Corporate Compliance & Ethics guidelines at the 2022 FIDI Conference in Cannes. FIDI Focus Editor Dominic Weaver spoke to three members of the committee that oversaw the guidelines’ development: Laura Busettini, Vice-President of FIDI Italy; Miguel Florez, LACMA and FIDI Latin America Past President; and Committee Chairman and FIDI UK President Nick Kerr
FIDI FOCUS: Could you give a summary of what the PCGs are?
Nick Kerr: The PCGs were launched as a standalone document in 2017. The professional cooperation rules, as it was originally, is not a new document. It’s been around for many years – you may recall the old FIDI yellow and blue manuals of many years ago – and as FAIM evolved over its first 10 years, many Affiliates and associations were calling for clarification of the professional relationships and behaviour during removal jobs between one firm and another.
When we were asked by the FIDI Board to resurrect these rules and rewrite them, it gave us a tremendous opportunity to look at the whole international moving process from start to finish and put all the procedures, protocols, and ethical elements of the relationships together in a logical sequence.
The PCGs were created with input from around 20 people from all over the world, including large and small movers, and representing the various facets of our industry. They set a protocol for behaviour and, because they have been embraced by FIDI as well as LACMA, PAIMA and IAM, they have become the basis for dispute resolution when two removal companies find themselves at odds with one another. They are updated frequently, and they’ve been very successful thus far.
FF: So how do the new Corporate Compliance & Ethics guidelines complement this work?
NK: Since the PCGs were established, FAIM has evolved further, with a great deal of emphasis placed on compliance issues. The FIDI office had drafted a compliance guidelines document, and this was given an overhaul by the PCGs Committee to make it relevant in terms of the new demands for evidence of corporate compliance by our Affiliates.
Once again, this was an opportunity to create a document from beginning to end that would guide an Affiliate – perhaps one without many resources for this – to be able to build their own compliance procedures and processes that recognise their own regional legislation and also meet the expectations of Affiliates across the world.
The difference between the Corporate Compliance & Ethics guidelines and the PCGs is that the latter are, in effect, a prescription for professional behaviour in a move; the former are different – we can’t simply provide a template that a firm can copy and paste. We’ve taken the core subjects in most countries around the world and evolved a set of advice upon which a firm can create its own set of written procedures and protocols – respecting their own local and regional legislation, international regulation and – just as importantly – the expectations of one another in our different regimes across the world.
FF: Laura, can you tell us how FIDI Italy was one of the driving forces behind this new document?
Laura Busettini: I remember that in 2014-2015, some of the agents in FIDI Italy were complaining that service conditions, inclusions and exclusions were interpreted differently depending on the country or agent you were working with. So it was sometimes difficult to know what to expect.
I remembered FIDI already had some written rules (the famous manuals Nick refers to) but they were not very comprehensive and still left too much room for interpretation. Therefore, our Association asked Marie-Pascale Frix, of the FIDI office, if FIDI could look at these rules again. The aim was to establish a common language among all Affiliates, to avoid disputes and make the concept of ‘twice the mover’ live again.
I was really happy to be a part of this process, to clarify the rules and to make the provision of services as uniform as possible. We now have a clear point of reference.
There are times when in doubt, where I will refer to the PCGs. For example, I can check what the best practice would be for charging a last-minute cancellation. We can refer to the guidelines, as a bible for the industry.
FF: Is this something that you would use in your own business?
LB: Yes, whenever there is a question, or when you have a new employee, this is a good tool to use for consultation and training. It covers all the aspects of a move and really helps you to understand the whole process, and the behaviour you can expect from an agent; and that you have to offer the agent – it is, of course, reciprocal.
FF: How are these new guidelines helping members of LACMA and FIDI Latin America?
Miguel Florez: The PCGs filled a gap in our industry because the other associations didn’t have anything in writing and were relying mostly on the decisions of committees or subjective decisions from a board, for example. They give us a common background and mean we speak the same language, in spite of regional and cultural differences. It was natural for LACMA to adopt the PCGs, too, which were a welcome tool for everybody.
The Corporate Compliance & Ethics guidelines fill another gap in our industry and help mitigate risk – which is everything nowadays. Our business and our reputations can be jeopardised easily; as Warren Buffett says, you can build a name in 20 years, but you can ruin it in five minutes. This is a top priority today.
FF: Nick, what would be your advice to a mover in terms of starting to use these new guidelines?
NK: For the PCGs, they may be the easiest way to create your service level agreement, whether a written agreement or simply a reference to the PCGs – because they are recognised as common industry best practices and are fit for purpose in terms of dispute resolution.
The Corporate Compliance & Ethics guidelines offer greater benefits to smaller businesses. Take the time to absorb them, they will help you prepare your written processes.
You can be assured that they will be under constant review, too. With the launch of FAIM 2022 for example, we are already starting work on the necessary updates to the FAIM compliance and ethics guidelines. It is a never-ending task, but it will give tremendous benefit to Affiliates because of the evolving nature of the document.
The full filmed interview with the PCGs Committee is available on FIDI’s YouTube Channel. If you have any questions on the PCGs or the Corporate Compliance & Ethics guidelines (which are available on FIDINET), please contact Marie-Pascale Frix, FIDI Business Intelligence Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org