Financial Conduct Authority  

Consumer 'fell victim to FCA shortcomings'

Consumer 'fell victim to FCA shortcomings'

The regulator's watchdog has once again raised "considerable concerns" over the way complaints are handled at the Financial Conduct Authority. 

In a number of decisions published yesterday (July 7) the Complaints Commissioner criticised the FCA's complaint handling procedures in a running theme at the regulator. 

In one case the commissioner warned the FCA's complaints team had failed to handle a complaint with "sufficient attention to accuracy" and sided with the consumer in another case where they had to wait eight months for the regulator to confirm their concerns fell outside of its remit anyway. 

In the latest in a long list of warnings sounded over the complaint handling procedure at the FCA, commissioner Antony Townsend said he still had "considerable concerns" about its delays and flaws. 

In one decision Mr Townsend said: "The FCA’s complaints handling function is currently suffering severe delays.

"The FCA has a programme of action to address this, but I have yet to see the results. Your complaint has fallen victim to the shortcomings in the FCA’s performance."

In this specific case the regulator accepted the commissioner's criticisms and agreed to pay the complainant £150 for "unnecessary distress and inconvenience".

The FCA also said it was keeping the commissioner updated with progress in addressing shortcomings in its complaints team, an issue which earlier this year prompted MPs to step in amid "troubling" concerns. 

In June the Treasury committee revealed its chairman, Mel Stride, had written to the regulator and its watchdog the Complaints Commissioner addressing a growing number of complaints about the FCA.

It followed multiple decisions published by Mr Townsend in which he warned of "serious delays and poor complaints handling" at the regulator. 

His annual report published last year flagged "repeated approaches from complainants who have been frustrated by missed deadlines and lack of information", which he recently warned had "considerably worsened" over the past year. 

In response to MP's concerns FCA chairman Charles Randell said the regulator was "absolutely committed" to implementing changes to address complaint handling delays.

Both the Treasury committee and commissioner have recently credited the FCA for "genuine efforts" to address the issues within its complaints team and its watchdog is expected to provide an update on its progress in this year's annual report.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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