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Complaint Handling - July 2015


Jul 31 2015

Complaint Handling

Relevance:                   All firms.

Action required:           Revise complaints handling procedures to comply with the new rules (staged implementation to 30.06.16).

Following its Thematic Review in November 2014 and its Consultation Paper published in December 2014, the FCA has now published its final rules on complaint handling

The new rules are intended “to benefit consumers as well as firms by helping to deliver a quicker, easier and fairer resolution to complaints.”

This is an initial note to make you aware of the changes. More detailed guidance will follow although, if you want to enjoy the detail now, you can read the policy statement (PS15/19: Improving complaints handling).

The new requirements include:

  • The time period for dealing with a complaint “informally” has been extended from the end of the next business day after the firm has received the complaint, to the end of three business days.
  • Raising consumer awareness of the ombudsman service, by sending a ‘summary resolution communication’ following the resolution of complaints handled by the close of the third business day after receipt (so what the FCA gives with one hand it takes away with the other).
  • Reporting of all complaints received, including those handled by the close of three business days after the firm receives them to the FCA. We think this will force firms to retrain staff to ensure that all complaints, however minor, are recorded properly.
  • Completing the FCA’s improved ‘complaints return’ which requires firms to send the regulator data twice a year on the number of complaints they receive alongside data on the number of sales completed (so the FCA can see which products cause the highest proportion of complaints).
  • Limiting the cost of calls that consumers make to firms to a maximum ‘basic rate’, including all post-contractual calls and complaints calls. This has been on the cards for some time but we now have a deadline for changing to local rate calls for post sales calls (including complaints).

The revisions are being brought in at different times during the next 12 months:

26 October 2015     The rules on call charges come into force;

30 June 2016          The rules on extending the ‘next business day rule’, complaints reporting and requiring firms to send a summary resolution communication will come into force

These changes affect firms across all financial services sectors.

The complete Policy Statement and Final Rules can be found using the following link: http://www.fca.org.uk/your-fca/documents/policy-statements/ps15-19

As mentioned, this is only an initial communication to firms to alert you to forthcoming changes that will affect a number of items and areas of your business, such as Terms of Business letters, Complaint Handling Procedures, Record Keeping etc.  We will work with firms to organise the changes accordingly and in good time.

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