A critical analysis of the factors that influence the sustainability of attorney's client protection funds : a Namibian perspective

De Klerk, Eben (2005-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The cornerstone of the legal profession is the trust harboured by clients when depositing monies with legal firms. A few regulations usually exist to protect trust monies. In the absence of a client protection fund, a client has no insurance against theft of trust monies. Most countries have come to realise the importance of employing a client protection fund to reimburse victims of theft in order to protect the integrity of the legal profession. Client protection funds are operated on different business models and a broad overview of the funds of New York, British Columbia, New Zealand and Botswana indicated that such funds are not able to compensate all proven claims without enforcing limitations. There is currently no benchmark whereby client protection funds can assess their effectiveness and sustainability. A standard for evaluating these funds is created based on the following criteria common to all funds: the purpose of a fund, the status of a fund, proper management of the fund, the methods which a fund employs to limit liability, the financial strength and sustainability of a fund, the rights of a fund where claims are awarded and the preventative measures employed by a fund. After evaluation of these funds it became clear that all of them are financially unsustainable if they were to pay proven claims without imposing limitations on their liability. The Namibian fund appears to be the most sustainable fund and was also used as the benchmark in one of the criterion of the evaluation model. A more critical study of the Namibian fund indicated that it would in future become less sustainable as the growth rate in trust deposits exceeds the growth rate of the fund's reserves. After a SWOT analysis it is suggested that the Namibian fund continues its current preventative measures, as same is likely the reason why an insignificant amount of thefts occurred over the past 15 years, and should focus on increasing income by negotiating better agreements with banks and employ a dedicated inspectorate, not only to ensure compliance with such agreements, but provide the fund with annual reports on each firm's level of compliance with statutory regulations on trust accounting.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die hoeksteen van die regsprofessie is die vertroue wat kliënte in prokureurs plaas om trustgeld te bewaar. 'n Basiese stel boekhou regulasies is al wat normaalweg dien as beskerming van trustgeld. In die afwesigheid van 'n getrouheidsfonds het 'n klient geen versekering teen diefstal van trustgelde nie. Meeste lande het reeds die waarde van 'n getrouheidsfonds besef as beskermingsmeganisme van die integriteit van die professie. Getrouheidsfondse is baseer op verskillende besigheidsmodelle en 'n breë oorsig van die fondse van New York, British Columbia, New Zealand en Botswana dui daarop dat sulke fondse nie in staat is om alle eise te vergoed sonder om daadwerklike beperkinge op hul verpligtinge te plaas nie. Daar bestaan huidiglik geen universele maatstaf waaraan fondse hul effektiwiteit en volhoubaarheid kan meet nie. 'n Eenvormige evaluasie model is ontwerp wat gebruik maak van die volgende ooreenstemmende kenmerke van alle fondse: die doel van die fonds, die status van die fonds, die behoorlike bestuur van die fonds, die metodes wat die fonds aanwend om verpligtinge te beperk, die finansiële vermoë en volhoubaarheid van die fonds, die regte van die fonds na betaling van eise en die voorkomende maatreëls wat die fonds aanwend. Na evaluasie van die bogenoemde fondse is dit duidelik dat sulke fondse nie finansieel volhoubaar sal wees as hulle alle goedgekeurde eise ten volle sou uitbetaal sonder die afdwing van beperkende maatreëls nie. Die Namibiese fonds blyk die mees volhoubare fonds te wees en word ook as maatstaf gebruik in een van die kriterium van die evaluasie model. By nadere ondersoek van die Namibiese fonds is vasgestel dat die fonds in die toekoms minder volhoubaar sal raak omdat die groeikoers in trust deposito's hoër is as die groeikoers van die reserwes van die fonds. Na 'n SWOT-analise word voorgestel dat die Namibiese fonds moet volhart in die uitvoering van voorkomende maatreëls en ook inkomste moet verhoog deur beter ooreenkomste met banke aan te gaan. 'n Toegewyde ondersoek afdeling sal verseker dat firmas sulke ooreenkomste nakom, asook aan die fonds raporteer oor firmas se nakoming van statutêre reëls.

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