Ensuring clients are protected is crucial to building a responsible and inclusive financial system.

The Social Performance Taskforce (SPTF) and CERISE have joined forces to launch the Client Protection (CP) Pathway, a free-of-charge initiative to support financial service providers (FSPs) in implementing good Client Protection practices. This initiative builds on the work of the Smart Campaign, a global initiative from 2009 to 2020 led by the Centre for Financial Inclusion.

Client Protection is a key element of Social Performance Management and seeks to ensure that services are delivered to clients in a responsible and transparent way.

The new pathway gives providers of financial services a clear roadmap for implementing the Client Protection Standards—a set of globally accepted principles that guide the responsible delivery of financial services—and helps them stay on track.

NMI signs joint statement of support

NMI has undersigned a joint statement, along with fellow investors, networks and associations, calling on all FSPs to join the pathway and implement the Client Protection Standards. “The Client Protection Standards are critical in ensuring responsible financial services for our end clients, and we are ready to support our investees in joining the CP Pathway to demonstrate our collective commitment,” said Arthur Sletteberg, Managing Director of Nordic Microfinance Initiative (NMI).

Key improvements

New elements introduced in the CP Pathway include a tiered system showing the individual steps the FSPs have implemented, allowing organizations to demonstrate both big achievements and progress along the way. It also gives partners a clearer way of identifying FSPs who have signed up and committed to the pathway, and are continuously documenting their progress.

NMI's Senior Investment and Impact Manager, Lone Søndergaard, is part of the SPTF Social Investor Working Group (SIWG) that has collaborated on the development of the new CP Pathway and advocated for changing to a step-based system.

“Ensuring clients are well protected is one of the cornerstones of responsible financial inclusion and one of the fundamental values of NMI. We believe the new pathway to be a significant improvement and a positive step away from a pass-fail exercise. With the new pathway, commitment must be demonstrated on an ongoing basis, resources are available to support the FSPs, and certification recognizes regional differences and becomes more accessible across the globe.”

How does the Client Protection Pathway work?

  • Organized into three steps—committing; assessing and improving; demonstrating; progress—the pathway provides guidance and resources for each step, including training webinars, connections to Client Protection professionals and written guidance.
  • FSPs can track their advancement and achieve a bronze, silver of gold badge based on their level of progression. As FSPs move along the CP Pathway, their status is publicized on SPTF + CERISE’s website.
  • A range of financial service provider-focused implementation tools are maintained by SPTF and CERISE and are publicly available via their SPM Resource Center.