Complaints handling by financial services firms

The following Financial Services practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Complaints handling by financial services firms
  • Definition of 'complaint'
  • Application
  • Application in relation to MiFID business
  • Consumer awareness rules
  • Publication of information about firm’s complaints handling procedures
  • Complaints handling rules
  • Complaints made by telephone
  • Analysis of complaints
  • Taking note of FOS determinations
  • More...

Complaints handling by financial services firms

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): The FCA has issued a statement setting out its expectations on complaints handling by firms during the coronavirus pandemic. For more information, see Complaints handling during coronavirus (COVID-19) in this Practice Note.

The rules for how firms should deal with complaints by customers are contained in the Dispute Resolution: Complaints Sourcebook (DISP) in the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) handbook.

DISP 1 contains rules and guidance on how firms should deal with complaints promptly and fairly, including complaints that could be referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Some of these rules also apply to certain branches of firms elsewhere in the EEA and certain EEA firms carrying out activities in the UK under the freedom to provide cross border services. DISP 1 is entitled 'Treating complainants fairly', which illustrates the high priority the FCA places on fair treatment of those who complain about a financial service they have received.

The DISP rules are detailed and specific, including rules on consumer awareness (DISP 1.2); complaints handling (DISP 1.3); the recording of complaints (DISP 1.9); complaints reporting (DISP 1.10); and complaints data publication (DISP 1.10A). Firms consequently have very little discretion as to how to handle complaints. This is because the FCA wishes to ensure that consumers are not unduly disadvantaged by the fact they tend to

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