The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has recently updated its rules on complaints handling; this is likely to affect members of this SIG and a brief summary of the provisions may be useful. This summary should not be seen as a substitute for study of the FCA handbook DISP.1 and DISP.2 sections which detail the new regime.
Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
The Rules place much emphasis on the role of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Regulated firms are required to make reference to the FOS and give its website address on their own websites and in their conditions of contract. This must be done at the point of sale. Businesses must maintain familiarity with FOS determinations, distribute such to all those likely to deal with complaints, and include these in training programmes for complaint handlers.
Complaints resolution rules
All complaints are to be handled diligently, fairly, consistently and impartially, and all determinations are to be in writing in terms that are clear and not misleading.
At the point of sale the business must detail its own procedures for complaint handling, procedures that have to be effective and transparent, reasonable and prompt. Internally, a senior official must take responsibility for compliance with the complaints rules and processes.
A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction from any affected party, including others than the client. Essentially, this means that if the complaint relates to the insurer or the adjuster, this is still a complaint that must be addressed. There are detailed obligations for the recording, analysis and pattern analysis of complaints in a form set out in the DISP handbook.
The period for resolution of disputes capable of quick determination has been extended to three days, rather than the previous one. But all resolutions must now be communicated in writing.
The regime reflects a number of reviews carried out by the FCA and other organisations, in which the handling of complaints by many regulated businesses was found to be deficient and not in the consumers’ interests. It’s clear that the FCA will be paying very careful attention to the procedures and recording of all regulated businesses of whatever size. We recommend careful study of the rules.