Certification Services

Inclusion [Social Ratings] is an accredited Certification Body by the Smart Campaign.

Based upon an institution’s objectives and needs, I[SR] can conduct either a client protection pre-certification assessment and/or a full Smart Campaign Certification.

1. Smart Campaign Client Protection Pre-Certification

The Smart Campaign pre-certification is a tool for institutions to examine their implementation of the Client Protection Principles. The internal review identifies strengths, weaknesses, and ultimately opportunities to enhance its practices around client protection practices to prepare for Certification.

A pre-certification is not required before Certification, but it does prepare your institution for the process.

2. Smart Campaign Client Protection Certification

Smart Campaign Certification is an independent, third party evaluation to publicly recognize financial institutions that meet adequate standards of care in how they treat their clients.

It enables financial institutions to demonstrate adherence to the industry’s Client Protection Principles. It contributes to a more stable financial inclusion industry by encouraging practices that aim to ensure prudent, transparent and respectful treatment of clients.

Who is eligible for Smart Certification?

Financial institutions that provide services to lower segments of the market and/or financially excluded populations are eligible for Smart Certification. This includes institutions of any legal form, including, but not limited to banks, finance companies, NGOs and credit unions.


How to become a Certified institution?

In order to be Certified a financial institution must meet all 25 standards based on the following 7 Client Protection Principles

  • Appropriate product design and delivery
  • Prevention of over-indebtedness
  • Transparency
  • Responsible pricing
  • Fair and respectful treatment of clients, staff ethics, and non-discrimination
  • Privacy of client data
  • Mechanisms for complaints resolution


How to get certified?

If your institution wishes to become certified, you must apply through one of Inclusion [Social Ratings] Regional Offices and take the following steps:

  • Preparation: complete a desk review in which you share key documents with the I[SR] Certification team.
  • On-site visit: after the submission of the required data, conduct a field visit to interview Financial Institution’s Director and management, branch staff, clients and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Analysis: after the field visit the Certification team will analyze the primary and secondary information and prepare the audit report.
  • Report finalization: finalization of the Output report, conduction of the Certification Committee and communication to the Financial Institution of the compliance or not with the client protection standards

Please note that certifications can be carried out as stand-alone visits or in conjunction with a Financial Sustainability Rating (“FSR”) or a Social Performance & Impact Rating (“SPIR”).

I[SR] encourages combining certifications with ratings; this is much more cost-effective than seeking certifications or ratings separately.


Results and output:

  • Conforms: If the institution passes every standard the institution will receive a Smart Certification and the process is completed.
  • No conforms: If the institution does not conform with all the standards, the organization will enter on a four-month progress phase to put in place corrective measures to meet all the standards.

Validity of the Certification:

The Certification is valid for four years with a mandatory Surveillance Audit after two years to confirm the institution’s adherence to the Client Protection Principles.


Why apply for a Certification?

  1. To obtain international public recognition
  2. To distinguish your institution as pro-client
  3. To help create a safer and more sustainable world for investors, financial service providers and clients alike
  4. Attract investment
  5. Give confidence to investors, donors, financial service providers and clients alike