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Complaint Handling - Sept '11

Sep 26 2011

Complaint Handling - September 2011

Relevance:             All firms.

Action required:     There should be none required but please review the following to ensure FSA refinements, effective September 2011, are in place.

Earlier this year we advised firms of the changes to the complaint handling rules effective September 2011 and we felt it useful to issue a reminder so that firms can make sure they have made the changes.

From 01 September 2011:

1)      You have to appoint a senior individual (Director or Partner level) to be responsible for complaints handling and record the name in the firm’s “Allocation of Responsibilities” register.

2)   Your procedures should include a proper analysis of the root cause of complaints to guide the firm to any further action needed.

  • Maintain the complaints register in such a way that any common themes causing complaints can be identified and appropriate action taken.
  • Remember, if there is a fault with a sales process there may be reason to examine all such sales even if complaints have not been made.

Given that most firms have very few complaints, we would expect problems caused by systems or training problems to be identified and rectified on a case by case basis.

3)      You need to ensure that anyone making decisions on complaints is fully aware of relevant FOS decisions made as well as information issued by the FSA or other bodies, such as the OFT and Information Commissioner.

It would be helpful to subscribe to the Ombudsman’s monthly newsletter, which you can arrange by sending an email to

4)    You need to ensure that information and details of the firm’s complaint handling procedures are provided promptly and free of charge.

Basic information is already contained in your client TOBA. You must ensure that any complaints that you receive are properly acknowledged and eligible complainants receive your written complaints procedure.

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