FSA sets out process for complaints about new regulators

FSA Front 480

The FSA and the Bank of England have set out how complaints will be dealt with under the new regulatory structure.

The Government announced in January that a single complaints commissioner will assess complaints across both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

The Financial Services Bill, the legislation which supports the creation of the new financial services regulators, requires the FCA, the PRA, and the Bank of England to consult on how complaints against the regulators will be investigated.

The FSA and the Bank of England have jointly published a consultation today which proposes that complaints under the new regulators will closely follow the current arrangements.

Complaints will first be investigated by the regulators themselves, and if the complainant remains unsatisfied they can refer their complaint to an independent person, or complaints commissioner.

The consultation says the complaints commissioner and his staff must not be employees of the regulators and are required to “act independently of, and without favouring, the regulators”.

The FCA will be responsible for recording details of the complaint and allocating it to the relevant regulator to investigate.

Complaints that will be considered under the new framework include complaints against the regulators alleging mistakes and lack of care, unreasonable delay, unprofessional behaviour, bias and lack of integrity.

Complaints about the actions or inactions of the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the Money Advice Service will be excluded.

The FSA and the Bank propose the current complaints commissioner Sir Anthony Holland should remain in place until April 2014. The tenure of subsequent complaints commissioners will be three years.

Complaints should be made within 12 months of the date on which the complainant first became aware of the circumstances giving rise to the complaint. Complaints made later than this will only be investigated where the complainant can show reasonable grounds for delay.

Where a complaint is alleging failures by more than one regulator, a lead person in one regulator will be designated to co-ordinate the response and take responsibility for communicating with the complainant.

The FSA and the Bank say: “The regulators are committed to dealing with all complainants fairly and equally. We will endeavour to meet the varied needs of complainants and to make the proposed scheme accessible to all who choose to use it.

“No charge will be made by the regulators or by the complaints commissioner to those who use the scheme.”

The consultation closes on 6 February.