The Financial Regulators Complaints Commissioner

Did you know that there is a Complaints Commissioner set up to deal with complaints against the regulator (in our case usually the FCA)?

Well, there is and it's headed by a gentleman called Anthony Townsend. The website is http://frccommissioner.org.uk/

According to Mr Townsend, there were around 140 complaints against the FCA last year. About a third were from regulated firms, the rest from consumers.

This scheme covers:

• Complaints against the regulators (FCA, PRA, BoE (clearinghouses, inter-bank payment systems), PSR)
• Complaints about mistakes, delay, unprofessional behaviour, bias, lack of integrity
• Excluded: policies, rules, disciplinary matters

So, what do people typically complain about?

• Administrative failings
• Level of fees
• Inadequate guidance
• Failure to regulate, leading to financial loss
• Issues with the Financial Ombudsman Service
• Failure to respond to information
• Refusal to consider complaints
• Oppressive behaviour

If, after the regulator completes an investigation, the complainant is still unhappy, they can then refer to the Complaints Commissioner.

Following the independent investigation by the Commissioner, there may be various outcomes.

• Reject complaint
• Uphold the complaint (wholly or partially)
• An Apology
• That the Regulator puts things right
• Recommend modest payments to recognise distress or inconvenience
• Recommend Compensatory payment for direct loss
• Make Recommendations to avoid recurrence

They cannot force the regulator to take action, though.

An annual report is published and this will be on the website and within it are case studies which you may find interesting.

I am sure many firms will resolve issues directly with their regulator, but in the worst cases, it is useful to know that there is somewhere to go to for further advice.

About the author

Terence is the Compliance Director at RWA. He has over 35 years' experience in the Financial Services environment, covering general insurance, investments and mortgages. Before joining RWA, Terence worked for a large PLC insurance brokerage in Manchester, overseeing some 20 acquisitions. He was made a Director of RWA in 2011 and has worked with insurance broking firms of all sizes across the UK. He has a particular interest in Financial Crime and the protecting the insurance broker. Terence is also Executive Chairman of the Association of Professional Compliance Consultants (APCC), the professional body for the compliance consultancy sector.

Terence Clark

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