Complaints Policy & Procedure
It is recognised that all customers have the right to complain and therefore we have put in place appropriate complaints handling procedures to deal with any complaints we receive. It is important to note that customers are able to make a complaint free of any charge. Accordingly, this document outlines the procedures to be followed so as to ensure a speedy resolution of any complaint made. In this regard, all complaints should be fully resolved within 8 weeks of receipt.
Only appropriately trained staff will deal with complaints, this will generally be the person responsible for compliance so as to ensure as much objectivity as possible. However, it will be ensured that persons subject to the complaint are not those tasked with dealing with the complaint.
TREATING CUSTOMERS FAIRLY
In accordance with our commitment to treating customers fairly and the FCA’s rules we will:
DEFINITION OF "COMPLAINT"
A complaint is:
“Any oral or written expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, from, or on behalf of, a person about the provision of, or failure to provide, a financial service, which alleges that the complainant has suffered (or may suffer) financial loss, material distress or material inconvenience.”
Complaints can be made verbally or in writing (including by electronic communication). We cannot insist that complaints be put in writing but in some cases, it would be helpful to suggest that the complainant sets out the relevant information formally.
Furthermore, to comply with FCA RMAR reporting requirements, complaints will be categorised within one of the following categories:
It is also important to record the product or service type, for FCA reporting purposes, as one of the following:
The person responsible for compliance is responsible for categorising complaints in the Complaints Register.
DEFINITION OF “ELIGIBLE COMPLAINTS”
All complaints received will be treated in the same way, whether they meet the definition of an eligible complaint or not. However, it is important to identify whether a compliant is eligible for FCA reporting processes.
The FCA defines an ‘eligible complainant’ as follows:
An eligible complainant must be a person that is:
RECEIPT AND LOGGING OF COMPLAINTS
The procedures for recording all complaints (both informal and formal) are as follows:
DETERMINING IF A COMPLAINT IS “INFORMAL”
Complaints should only be dealt with in the informal process if it is likely that the complaint can be resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction within 3 business days. This can be determined by the following factors:
If it transpires that a complaint cannot be resolved satisfactorily within the 3-day period, then the complaint should be dealt with under the Formal Complaints process.
The informal process is most appropriate for simple complaints that do not involve more complex issues. Complaints should only be dealt with under the informal process if they meet the following criteria:
HANDLING INFORMAL COMPLAINTS
The matter must be investigated and resolved by a person other than the person who is the subject of the complaint.
Once the complaint has been resolved, a Summary Resolution Communication (SRC) must be sent to the complainant, a template for this can be found under Appendix 2. If the complaint requires remedial action to correct the complaint, or for redress to be made to the customer, then this must be actioned promptly.
If the complainant subsequently contacts to escalate the complaint, then this must automatically be dealt with under the Formal Complaints process.
This applies to any complaint (“eligible”, in accordance with the above definition, or otherwise) that cannot be resolved under the informal process, where a complaint is received concerning the actions of the firm as a broker (and agent of the customer) for the complaint to be handled internally.
HANDLING AND INVESTIGATING FORMAL COMPLAINTS
The formal complaint handling procedures are as follows:
If the complaint requires remedial action to correct the complaint, or for redress to be made to the customer, then this must be actioned promptly.
FINANCIAL OMBUDSMAN SERVICE (FOS)
Set up by Parliament, the Financial Ombudsman Service is the UK’s official expert in resolving problems with financial services.
If a business and a customer can’t resolve a complaint themselves, the FOS can give an unbiased answer about what’s happened. If they decide someone has been treated unfairly, the FOS has legal powers to put things right.
The customers’ right to have disputes referred to the FOS should be included in any Terms of Service, including contact information.
The person responsible for compliance will maintain the Complaints Register and monitor the progress made with each complaint until the complaint is resolved. The Complaints Register will include details of all open complaints reported, when they were received, what the client classification is, where the relevant files are held and details of all other material developments until each complaint is resolved. The Complaints Register will also retain the records of each complaint for six years from the date of the expiry of the policy/cover to which the complaint relates.
The person responsible for compliance will periodically review the Complaints Register to establish whether there are any trends or common reasons leading to customer complaints for example, systemic failings in sales or operational processes. Where such issues are identified, these will be raised with management and an action plan will be developed and implemented to address the issue. Following the implementation of the action plan, the person responsible for compliance will continue to monitor complaints to determine if the action taken has been effective.
REPORTING TO THE FINANCIAL CONDUCT AUTHORITY
The person responsible for compliance will include relevant complaints in a mandatory report to the Financial Conduct Authority.
We have in place appropriate management controls and take reasonable steps to ensure that the firm can identify and remedy any recurring or systemic problems.
Recurring or systemic problems are identified / remedied by:
HANDLING OF 3RD PARTY COMPLAINTS
If it is considered that another Authorised Firm or a Regulated Financial Institution is entirely or partly responsible for the subject matter of a complaint then the complaint, or relevant part of it, may be referred to the other Authorised Firm or Regulated Financial Institution. In such cases the following action will be taken: