When we use your personal data we are regulated under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which applies across the European Union (including in the United Kingdom) and we are responsible as ‘controller’ of that personal data for the purposes of the GDPR. Our use of your personal data is subject to your instructions, the GDPR, other relevant UK and EU legislation and our professional duty of confidentiality.
It would be helpful to start by explaining some key terms used in this policy:
|We, us, our||Meridian Private Client LLP|
|Our data protection officer||Mr Carl Csukas
01675 444 885
|Personal data||Any information relating to an identified or identifiable individual|
|Special category personal data||Personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs or trade union membership
Genetic and biometric data
Data concerning health, sex life or sexual orientation
Personal data we collect about you
The table below sets out the personal data we will or may collect in the course of advising and/or acting for you.
|Personal data we will collect||Personal data we may collect depending on why you have instructed us|
|Your name, address and telephone number
Information to enable us to check and verify your identity, eg your date of birth or passport details
Electronic contact details, eg your email address and mobile phone number
Information relating to the matter in which you are seeking advice or representation
Your financial details so far as relevant to your instructions, eg the value of your assets and indebtedness if you instruct us on a matter where your overall wealth or the value of a particular asset is relevant
|Your National Insurance and tax details
Your bank and/or building society details
Details of your professional online presence, eg LinkedIn profile
Details of your spouse/partner and dependants or other family members, eg if you instruct us on a family matter or a Will
Your employment status and details including salary and benefits, eg if you instruct us on a matter related to your employment or in which your employment status or income is relevant
Your nationality and domicile status, eg if you instruct us on a matter where they are relevant
Information about your use of our IT, communication and other systems, and other monitoring information, eg if you complete online templates we send to you or you contact us via our website
Personal identifying information, such as your hair or eye colour or your parents’ names, eg if you instruct us to incorporate a company for you
This personal data is required to enable us to provide our services to you. If you do not provide personal data we ask for, it may delay or prevent us from providing services to you.
How your personal data is collected
We collect most of this information from you. However, we may also collect information from other sources:
- From publicly accessible sources, eg Companies House or HM Land Registry
- From a third party with your consent, eg:
1. Your bank or building society, another financial institution or adviser;
2. Consultants and other professionals we may engage in relation to your matter;
3. Your employer, pension administrators or other professional advisors such as accountants or surveyors;
4. Your doctors, medical and occupational health professions;
5.Trustees of any trusts you have settled or from which you may benefit.
- Via our information technology (IT) systems, eg; case management, document management and time recording systems, meeting recording systems, electronic calendars, telecommunications systems and email.
How and why we use your personal data
Under data protection law, we can only use your personal data without your specific consent if we have a proper reason for doing so. We rely on three separate reasons to lawfully use your data, which are:
- To comply with our legal and regulatory obligations;
- For the performance of our contract with you or to take steps at your request before entering into a contract, or
- For our legitimate interests or those of a third party, including yourself.
A legitimate interest is when we have a business or commercial reason to use your information, so long as this is not overridden by your own rights and interests.
If we cannot rely on one of the above reasons to use your data, such as if we are to use your special category personal data, we will request your explicit consent to do so.
The table below explains what we use (process) your personal data for and our reasons for doing so:
|What we use your personal data for||Our reasons|
|To provide legal and/or tax advisory services to you||For the performance of our contract with you or to take steps at your request before entering into a contract|
|Conducting checks to identify our clients and verify their identity
Other processing necessary to comply with professional, legal and regulatory obligations that apply to our business, eg rules issued by our professional regulator
|To comply with our legal and regulatory obligations|
|Gathering and providing information required by or relating to audits, enquiries or investigations by regulatory bodies||To comply with our legal and regulatory obligations|
|Ensuring business policies are adhered to, eg policies covering security and internet use||For our legitimate interests, ie to make sure we are following our own internal procedures so we can deliver the best service to you|
|Operational reasons, such as improving efficiency, training and quality control||For our legitimate interests, ie to be as efficient as we can so we can deliver a quality service for you|
|Ensuring the confidentiality of commercially sensitive information||For our legitimate interests, ie to protect our intellectual property and other commercially valuable information
To comply with our legal and regulatory obligations
|Statistical analysis to help us manage our practice, eg in relation to our financial performance, client base, work type or other efficiency measures||For our legitimate interests , ie to be as efficient as we can so we can
deliver a quality service for you
|Preventing unauthorised access and modifications to systems||For our legitimate interests, ie to prevent and detect criminal activity that could be damaging for us and for you
To comply with our legal and regulatory obligations
|Updating client records||For the performance of our contract with you or to take steps at your request before entering into a contract
To comply with our legal and regulatory obligations
For our legitimate interests, eg making sure that we can keep in touch with our clients about existing and new services
|Statutory returns||To comply with our legal and regulatory obligations|
|Ensuring safe working practices, staff administration and assessments||To comply with our legal and regulatory obligations
For our legitimate interests, eg to make sure we are following our own internal procedures and working efficiently so we can deliver the best service to you
|Marketing our services to you||For our legitimate interests, ie to promote our business to existing and former clients.|
|External audits and quality checks, eg for Lexcel, ISO or Investors in People accreditation and the audit of our accounts||For our legitimate interests, ie so we can demonstrate we operate at the highest standards
To comply with our legal and regulatory obligations
The above table does not apply to special category personal data, which we will only process with your explicit written consent.
Where your personal data is held
Information may be held at our offices and those of our third party service providers as described above (see ‘Who we share your personal data with)’
Some of these third parties may be based outside the European Economic Area. For more information, including on how we safeguard your personal data when this occurs, see below: ‘Transferring your personal data out of the EEA’.
We may use your personal data to update you (by email, telephone or post) about legal and tax developments that might be of interest to you and/or information about our existing and new services.
We have a legitimate interest in processing your personal data for promotional purposes linked to the service(s) we have recently provided to you (see above ‘How and why we use your personal data’). This means we do not usually need your consent to send you promotional communications. However, where consent is needed, we will ask for this consent separately and clearly.
We will always treat your personal data with the utmost respect and never share it with other organisations for marketing purposes.
Right to opt out
You have the right to opt out of receiving promotional communications at any time by:
- Advising us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) that you no longer wish to receive such communications
- Using the ‘unsubscribe’ link in promotional emails
We may ask you to confirm or update your marketing preferences if you instruct us to provide further services in the future, or if there are changes in the law, regulation, or the structure of our business.
Who we share your personal data with
We would expect to share personal data with:
- Professional advisers who we instruct on your behalf or refer you to, eg barristers, medical professionals, accountants, trustees or other experts;
- Other third parties where necessary to carry out your instructions; eg HM Revenue & Customs, HM Land Registry or Companies House;
- Our banks and our insurance brokers;
- External auditors, eg in relation to Lexcel accreditation and the audit of our accounts;
- External service suppliers that we use to make our business more efficient, eg document destruction, document storage and Information Technology providers.
We only allow our service providers to handle your personal data if we are satisfied they take appropriate measures to protect your personal data. We also impose contractual obligations on service providers to ensure they can only use your personal data to provide services to us and to you.
We may disclose and exchange information with law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies to comply with our legal and regulatory obligations.
We may also need to share some personal data with other parties, such as potential buyers of some or all of our business or during a re-structuring. Usually, information will be anonymised but this may not always be possible. The recipient of the information will be bound by confidentiality obligations.
How long your personal data will be kept
We will not keep your personal data for longer than we need it for the purpose for which it is used. As set out above we use your personal data with your consent and/or to comply with our legal and regulatory obligations, for the performance of our contract with you or to take a step at your request before entering in to a contract, or for our legitimate interests or those of a third party.
As a general rule, if we are no longer providing services to you, we will delete or anonymise your Client and Matter file and personal data contained after 7 years. However, different retention periods apply for different types of personal data and for different services.
Following the end of the relevant retention period, we will delete or anonymise your personal data.
The firm is required to maintain records of client identification for at least 5 years from the date on which an occasional transaction is completed or the end of a business relationship with a client. The records that we must keep include those relating to:
- identity and identity verification;
- client & matter risk assessments;
- ongoing monitoring of the business relationship;
- enhanced due diligence measures; and
- additional information for Politically Exposed Persons: approval from senior management, enhanced due diligence undertaken (including source of wealth checks) and enhanced monitoring.
On expiry of this period, the Firm must delete any personal data, unless:
- we are required to retain it by another enactment (including any rule made by our regulator); or
- the data subject has given consent to the retention of that data; or
- we are required to retain the data for the purposes of any court proceedings; or
- we have reasonable grounds for believing that the records containing personal data that needs to be retained for the purposes of legal proceedings.
Where any of the above apply, then the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 (The MLR 2017) state that the maximum retention period should be 10 years from the date on which an occasional transaction is completed or the end of a business relationship with a client.
The MLR 2017 provide that personal data received from clients is subject to data protection legislation and can only be used or processed for the purposes of preventing money laundering or terrorist financing unless any of the exceptions under Regulation 40(5) apply. Under Regulation 41, we are required to provide this information to clients and do so through our Terms and Conditions.
We may make checks using electronic verification systems or other databases as we may decide in order to comply with our obligations under anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regulations.
Transferring your personal data out of the EEA
To deliver services to you, it is sometimes necessary for us to share your personal data outside the European Economic Area (EEA), eg:
- With your and our service providers located outside the EEA;
- If you are based outside the EEA;
- Where there is an international dimension to the matter in which we are advising you.
When it is necessary for us to share your personal data outside the EEA, we will take steps to ensure your data is protected to an equivalent standard as within the EEA.
Keeping your personal data secure
We have appropriate security measures to prevent personal data from being accidentally lost, or used or accessed unlawfully. We limit access to your personal data to those who have a genuine business need to access it. Those processing your information will do so only in an authorised manner and are subject to a duty of confidentiality.
We also have procedures in place to deal with any suspected data security breach. We will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected data security breach where we are legally required to do so.
If you want detailed information from Get Safe Online on how to protect your information and your computers and devices against fraud, identity theft, viruses and many other online problems, please visit www.getsafeonline.org Get Safe Online is supported by HM Government and leading businesses.
Your access rights
You have the following rights, which you can exercise free of charge:
|Access||The right to be provided with a copy of your personal data|
|Rectification||The right to require us to correct any mistakes in your personal data|
|To be forgotten||The right to require us to delete your personal data – in certain situations|
|Restriction of processing||The right to require us to restrict processing of your personal data – in certain circumstances, eg if you contest the accuracy of the data|
|Data portability||The right to receive the personal data you have provided to us, in a structured, commonly used and machine readable format and/or transmit that data to a third party – in certain situations|
|To object||The right to object:
|Not to be subjected to automated individual decision-making.||The right not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated processing (including profiling) that produces legal effects concerning you or similarly significantly affects you|
For further information on each of those rights, including the circumstances in which they apply, please contact us or see the Guidance from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on individuals’ rights under the General Data Protection Regulation.
If you would like to exercise any of those rights, please:
- Email, call or write to our Data Protection Officer – see below: ‘How to contact us’, and
- Let us have enough information to identify you (eg your full name, address and client or matter reference number), and
- Let us have proof of your identity and address (a copy of your driving licence or passport and a recent utility or credit card bill), and
- Let us know what right you want to exercise and the information to which your request relates.
How to complain
We hope that our Data Protection Officer can resolve any query or concern you may raise about our use of your information.
The General Data Protection Regulation also gives you right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority, in particular in the European Union (or European Economic Area) state where you work, normally live or where any alleged infringement of data protection laws occurred. The supervisory authority in the UK is the Information Commissioner who may be contacted at https://ico.org.uk/concerns or telephone: 0303 123 1113.
How to contact us
Our Data Protection Officer’s contact details are shown below:
Mr Carl Csukas
Meridian Private Client LLP
Wood Rydings Court
Tel: 01675 444 885
Contact one of our specialists today