Complaints against FCA spike in February

Complaints against FCA spike in February

The number of complaints made against the Financial Conduct Authority shot up in February to 154, from 48 received the previous month and 30 in December.

The regulator’s June data bulletin also showed in terms of the number of complaints that were closed, the figure almost doubled from January to February, from 27 to 51.

The increase in complaints was mainly due to the regulator receiving a large number about their role in Lloyds decision to call in enhanced capital notes.

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Campaigners slammed the Financial Conduct Authority for not intervening to protect investors with high-interest bonds after issuer Lloyds Banking Group moved to redeem the bonds in February.

Thousands of investors who looked set to lose the bonds, known as enhanced capital notes (ECNs), were thrown a lifeline on 8 February after the Supreme Court gave them the chance to appeal against the bank’s decision to buy back the ECNs at face value and stop paying as much as 16 per cent a year in interest.

However the FCA decided not to intervene and Lloyds Banking Group redeemed the bonds anyway on 9 February.

Between 1 December 2015 and 29 February 2016, the FCA received 232 complaints.

Each complaint received can contain multiple allegations, noted the bulletin. Since December, 143 allegations have been closed, with 34 per cent of these not being investigated.

This can be for a variety of reasons, including that the complaint is a general expression of dis-satisfaction where no misconduct has been alleged, or that the allegations are excluded, referred, deferred or outside of our scope, it noted.

Over the period, 94 allegations were investigated by the FCA, with 48 per cent not upheld and 52 per cent upheld in whole or in part.

Also in February, the FCA started a consultation to revamp the way complaints are reported and responded to.

All three regulators operate a complaints scheme, running since April 2013, to investigate complaints against them. Fresh legislation means the Complaints Commissioner must now provide an annual report on the scheme.

During the year to November, there were 491 complaints received against the FCA, with 546 closed - of the latter 47 per cent were not investigated - according to the previous data bulletin.

The latest publication also looked at skilled person reports, explaining that between 1 October 2015 and 31 December 2015, four were commissioned.

One of these was commissioned under the FCA’s power introduced in the Financial Services Act 2012, which means it contracted directly with a skilled person. For the other three skilled person reports, the authorised firm appointed the skilled person to be used.

Between 1 January 2016 and 31 March 2016, 10 skilled person reports were commissioned.

One of these was contracted directly with a skilled person. For the other nine, the authorised firm appointed the skilled person to be used.

Banks and building societies accounted for the most skilled person reports, with four during the fourth quarter.

Stockbrokers had two during the third quarter of last year and one in the fourth quarter. Investment management, securities and futures firms and general insurance and protection providers all had one issued each during the last three months of 2015.