Keeping clients first in financial inclusion
Client Protection Principles and Standards
Smart Campaign tools
- Download the Getting Started Questionnaire, the assessment tool for Client Protection Certification
SPM Resource Center
You can access Smart Campaign tools and resources at the SPTF SPM Resource Center. Wee’ll be developing a new resource center in 2021 … stay tuned!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have other questions or concerns about client protection work after Smart Campaign closes, please email Leah Wardle.
- What will happen to the Client Protection Standards?
SPTF and CERISE are committed to preserving and advancing the Client Protection Standards. As you know, these are already fully integrated into the Universal Standards and the SPI Online (the digital version of SPI4 and ALINUS). Going forward, SPTF will steward the evolution of these Client Protection Standards as part of its revisions of the Universal Standards.
- What will happen to Smart Campaign’s resources?
In the coming months, CERISE and SPTF will unveil a new, joint Resource Center that will combine our resources and offer a better user experience. Please note that Smart Campaign’s website closed on December 1, 2020. If you are looking for something and can’t find it, start here. If you still need assistance, email Leah Wardle.
- Will client protection assessments continue to exist?
Yes. FSPs interested in a client protection assessment can still use the Getting Started Questionnaire. Assessors trained by Smart can continue to conduct client protection assessments, even though you can no longer use the “Smart” name. Please keep us informed if you are getting requests for external assessments, as it will help us monitor the demand and determine how to best support you.
- Will client protection endorsement continue to exist?
Yes, but in a different form. Many stakeholders — including FSPs, networks, and members of the Social Investor Working Group — have emphasized the importance of having a system in place for FSPs to publicly demonstrate their commitment to client protection.
To this end, SPTF and CERISE are developing the Client Protection Pathway. The Pathway gives providers a roadmap for implementing the Client Protection Standards and helps them stay on track. A web page dedicated to the Pathway (coming soon) will allow funders to track where an FSP is on the path toward full compliance with the Client Protection Standards. Though Client Protection Certification is a great goal, we want FSPs to be able to show their progress along the pathway, even before they are ready for certification.
In the next couple of months, SPTF and CERISE will have much more to share with you about how to get on the Client Protection Pathway (for FSPs) and how to use it to understand an investee’s client protection practices (for investors).
- Will client protection certification continue to exist?
Yes, but in a different form. Smart Campaign Client Protection Certification in its current form will be ending (the latest that a new Smart Certification can be awarded is April 30, 2021). CERISE and SPTF have been exchanging with the current licensed certifying bodies, who will soon launch a new form for client protection certification, using the same client protection standards as before. The biggest change in the new certification scheme is that there will be three levels to certification — bronze, silver, and gold. This means that FSPs can demonstrate their good practices even before they reach 100% compliance with all the indicators. This new format will be launched soon, and we will keep you informed.
About the Smart Campaign closure and CERISE and SPTF roles
From 2009 to 2020, the Smart Campaign was a global initiative led by CFI that worked to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. The Campaign developed the first global financial consumer protection standard, established a rigorous certification program to validate practices by financial service providers, produced consumer protection research, and convened partners to effect change. Over the course of the program more than 135 financial institutions, collectively serving more than 62 million low-income clients in 42 countries, were certified for adhering to the Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Standards.
In 2020, development of the Client Protection Standards and management of their implementation was transferred to long-time partners SPTF and CERISE. The Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Standards are integrated into the Universal Standards for Social Performance Management (USSPM) managed by SPTF and continue to guide financial service providers to implement better consumer protection practices. The wealth of financial service provider-focused implementation tools are maintained by SPTF and CERISE and are publicly available via their SPM Resource Center.