The Three Steps: Help Along the Way

Achieving client protection, one step at a time. 

The Client Protection Pathway consists of three steps that support financial service providers in their journey to implement a client-centric business model. There is no set timeframe to move forward on the Pathway. You do as you wish, working at your own pace. Cerise+SPTF provides the roadmap and works continuously to develop and refine the tools that can help you along the way.

View details about each step:    STEP 1  |  STEP 2  |  STEP 3

Step 1: Commit to implement

Submit this sign-up form to formalize your commitment to implement client protection and be publicly listed here as a Committed Institution.  The form walks you through signing our statement of commitment and submitting a client protection assessment.

All financial institutions are welcome to sign up for the Client Protection Pathway, regardless of model, size, maturity, status, or country. 

The Client Protection Pathway sign-up form will ask you to agree to this statement:

“Our organization has reviewed the Client Protection Standards, and we commit to using them to improve our practices over time.”

The Client Protection Pathway sign-up form requires you to upload a recent client protection assessment (dated within the last two years) or to commit to submitting one within the next six months.

We accept the following assessments:

Tools on SPI Online:

  1. Client Protection Commit Tool 
  2. Client Protection Full Assessment (either CP Full in SPI Online or CP SAT in Excel)
  4. SPI5 Entry or SPI5 Full
External tools: 
  1. Code of Conduct Assessment (Cambodia, India, EU)
  2. Social Rating
  3. Client Protection Certification (completed in the last 3 years)

Note: Submitted documents must remain current for an organization to still be considered formally committed.  After initial sign-up, when your most recent submitted assessment reaches 2 years of age (3 years for certifications), Cerise+SPTF will request an updated assessment.  If none is provided within one year, you will be marked “Inactive” in our list of Committed Institutions.

Documents submitted to Cerise+SPTF are used only for verification purposes and will not be shared with external parties. However, interested parties who notice your organization on our public list of Committed Institutions may contact you directly asking to view your documents.

Step 2: Improve

Based on your assessment, identify the gaps in your client protection practices and prepare an action plan.  Then, continuously improve your practices using Cerise+SPTF resources to support implementation. 

Use this simple decision tree to help your organization decide how to jump into this step.

If not yet completed, conduct a comprehensive assessment of your practices and policies using the Client Protection Assessment Tool.

Review the results of your assessment with an honest, open mind — and without overstating the results. They are mainly intended to show where to improve.  

Then, craft your action plan to address the real gaps in your client protection practices.  Ultimately, this is the only way to truly serve clients better.

Once you have created an action plan based on your assessment results, use these free resources provided by Cerise+SPTF to support your improvement journey:

Download the most recent Client Protection Self-Assessment Tool (version 3.4.0) in Excel to evaluate your organization’s performance against the most recent Client Protection Standards (version 3).

This Excel tool has all the necessary dashboards as well as a gap analysis to help you build a meaningful action plan and focus on the improvement of your practices.  

Available in Multiple Languages:
In the set-up tab inside the tool, you may choose English, French, Spanish, Arabic, or Russian.

Step 3: Report

Get a certification of your client protection practices from an approved certification body.

PLEASE NOTE: Before beginning the certification process, it is very important to ensure that your certifying body of choice is one which is recognized by Cerise+SPTF. Only those entities listed on our “Who Can Certify” page are approved certifiers; no other agencies’ work product will be considered as Client Protection Certifications.

Certification is the independent audit of Client Protection systems and practices of a financial service provider, measured through an assessment of the compliance with the Client Protection Certification framework

For more information, check out our FAQs about Certification.

The certification framework consists of the assessment of policies and practices described in the Client Protection Standards and their corresponding essential practices and indicators. Thus, using the Client Protection Assessment Tool (CP Full –available on SPI Online) is a great way to prepare for certification.

  • Certifications are valid for 3 years.

  • Formerly, certification was a pass/fail (“all or nothing”) exercise. Now, there are three levels of recognition—Gold, Silver and Bronze—allowing financial service providers to demonstrate their good practices as they move toward full compliance.

  • Gold level requires 95% compliance, to accommodate regional or business-model specificities that do not allow for compliance with 100% of indicators.

  • All levels of certification require full compliance with subsets of minimum requirements.
    • Entry-level indicators (n=33): These indicators address practice over policy, as well as key concerns for the sector, along the 8 standards.
    • Progress-level indicators (n=21): These indicators are the minimum expected by asset owners and social investors.
    • Advanced-level indicators (n=24): These indicators confirm practices with policies and processes, and mitigate the biggest risks to clients.

When you are ready to get certified, contact the certification bodies who are currently approved by Cerise+SPTF to request a financial and technical proposal. 

Approved certification bodies are structured and registered organizations who:

  • use a client protection certification methodology that is aligned with the Universal Standards
  • have the robust systems necessary to ensure impartial decision-making
  • have the capacity to perform client protection certifications

This ensures the quality and comparability of the results of certifications.

You are already certified and wonder what to do next?

This is not the end of your journey!  

As you journey along the Client Protection Pathway, please remember:


    • There are no deadlines. Cerise+SPTF provides the roadmap and the resources; you do as you wish, working at your own pace.
    • All financial institutions are welcome to join, regardless of size, maturity, status, or country.
    • All Cerise+SPTF tools are free of charge.