Review of FCA complaints process kicks-off

Review of FCA complaints process kicks-off

The Financial Conduct Authority has kick-started a consultation that aims to revamp the way complaints about the regulator are reported and responded to.

The big three financial regulators, including the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Bank of England, have today (12 February) launched a review that investigates how complaints about their services are handled.

If the report makes recommendations or criticisms about the regulators’ handling of complaints, then each regulator must respond, publish the response, and send a copy of its response to both the complaints commissioner and HM Treasury.

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All three regulators operate a ‘complaints scheme’, which has been running since April 2013, to investigate complaints against them.

Fresh legislation means the complaints commissioner must now provide an annual report on the scheme.

The report will include information on:

• General trends that have emerged

• Recommendations as to how the regulators should respond to such trends

• The effectiveness of the regulators’ procedures for handling and resolving complaints

• How accessible and fair those procedures were

• Recommendations about how those procedures could be improved

The Treasury must lay the annual report and any responses before Parliament.

Both consumers and financial firms that wish to use the complaints scheme are invited to take part in the consultation.

The deadline for comments is 8 March.

Frances Kemp, IFA at Norwich-based Nurture Financial Planning, said: “Essentially the most important issue here is consistency.

“Fundamentally, these three agencies should work in very similar ways and so common sense would suggest that their complaints procedures should also be comparable.”

Tony Catt, compliance officer at Peacehaven-based Anthony Catt Limited, called the FCA complaints procedure “lumpy” and lacking in common sense.

He said he recently complained to the FCA and the procedure was “unclear” and “slow”, taking eight weeks to process a complaint.

“For them to be looking at reviewing their complaints procedure is a brilliant idea because currently it is not fit for purpose and doesn’t treat us fairly in any way, shape or form.”