We have written internal procedures in place, and outlined below, for the prompt and reasonable handling of complaints related to our financial services, whether they are received over the phone, by letter, fax or email. These procedures ensure that a complaint may be made free of charge.
Investigating and assessing a complaint
Once a complaint has been received we will:
- investigate the complaint competently, diligently and impartially, obtaining additional information as necessary;
- assess fairly, consistently and promptly –
- the subject matter of the complaint;
- whether the complaint should be upheld;
- what remedial action or redress (or both) may be appropriate;
- if appropriate, whether we have reasonable grounds to be satisfied that another respondent may be solely or jointly responsible for the matter alleged in the complaint.
- offer redress or remedial action when we decide this is appropriate;
- explain to the complainant promptly and, in a way that is fair, clear and not misleading, our assessment of the complaint, our decision on it, and any offer of remedial action or redress; and
- comply promptly with any offer of remedial action or redress accepted by the complainant.
Resolution of complaints
If a complaint can be resolved through verbal or written acceptance by the complainant within three business days following the day on which we received it, we will send the complainant a written summary resolution communication, which will include:
- reference to the fact that the complainant has made a complaint and informs the complainant that the respondent now considers the complaint to have been resolved;]
- a statement that if complainant subsequently decides that he is dissatisfied with the resolution of the complaint he may be able to refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (“FOS”);
- indication as to whether or not we consent to waive the relevant time limits for referring the complaint to the FOS;
- the website address of the FOS; and
- reference to the availability of further information on the website of the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Regardless of whether a complaint is resolved within three days, we remain required to adequately document and include such instances within the appropriate report to the regulator.
Complaints that need further investigation
When a complaint cannot be resolved within the three-day allowance, the arrangements for ensuring that all client complaints are properly dealt with are as follows:
- The appropriate individual will promptly contact the complainant in writing by acknowledging the complaint, setting out our understanding of the nature of the complaint, that we are dealing with the complaint, and noting the name and title of the person investigating the complaint.
- Thereafter the appropriate individual will keep the complainant informed of the progress being made in the complaint’s resolution.
By the end of eight weeks after receipt of the complaint, we must either send the complainant:
- A final written response which –
- accepts the complaint and, where appropriate, offers redress or remedial action; or
- offers redress or remedial action without accepting the complaint; or
- rejects the complaint and gives reasons for doing so.
In all cases, the response will (a) attach the standard explanatory leaflet from the FOS, (b) provide the website address of the FOS, (c) inform the complainant that if he/she remains dissatisfied he/she may now refer the matter to the FOS, and (d) indicate whether or not the relevant FOS time limits for referring the complaint to the FOS have been waived;
- A written response which –
- explains why we are not in a position to make a final response;
- indicates when we expect to provide a final response;
- informs the complainant that he/she may now refer the complaint to the FOS;
- indicates whether or not the relevant FOS time limits have been waived;
- encloses the standard explanatory leaflet from the FOS; and
- provides the website address of the FOS.
It should be noted that points A and B above do not apply if the complainant has already indicated in writing acceptance of a response, provided that the response:
- informed the complainant how to pursue his/her complaint if he/she remains dissatisfied;
- referred to the ultimate availability of the Financial Ombudsman Service if he/she remains dissatisfied with the our response;
- enclosed a copy of the Financial Ombudsman Service standard explanatory leaflet;
- provided the website address of the Financial Ombudsman Service; and
- indicated whether or not the relevant FOS time limits have been waived.
Co-operating with the Financial Ombudsman Service
Where a complaint against us is referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service we will cooperate fully with the Financial Ombudsman Service and comply promptly with any settlements or awards made by it.
Financial Ombudsman Service
As stated above, if you are dissatisfied with our response to your complaint, you may be entitled to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. They can be contacted at:
The Financial Ombudsman Service
London, E14 9SR
Phone: 0800 023 4 567 or 0300 123 9 123
For more information, visit: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk