What can you learn from the latest FCA complaints data?

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This week, the regulator published its latest complaints data, covering grievances raised between January and June 2016. The information details complaints made to banks, insurers, lenders and other financial services firms. It also shows what they were about.

What are the headline statistics?

  • Customers complained to firms 2.05 million times in the first half of 2016
  • This is down 2.6% on the previous six months
  • Payment protection insurance (PPI) is the most complained about product. This fits with recently-released Financial Ombudsman data, which also showed that PPI was the area most customers have issues with.
  • The number of new PPI complaints was more or less unchanged, though, at 0.93 million
  • Current accounts have seen the largest reduction in grumbles – down 10% in the period
  • Just over half – 57% – of the grievances raised were upheld by the regulator

 This table (source: The FCA) shows how many complaints were received about each type of financial product, and how this has changed since the previous six-month period:

What can firms learn from the data?

Excluding PPI, where the data relates to a product no longer being sold, firms can take steps to make sure they avoid appearing on this list in future. Here we outline the actions you should prioritise.

Treat customers fairly

  • The FCA’s guidelines on Treating Customers Fairly provide a good grounding in what firms should do to avoid falling short of the regulator’s – and customers’ – expectations. You can read more on how to make sure your financial promotions follow the TCF guidelines here.

Embed the FCA's consumer outcomes in your promotions and processes

  • At the heart of the Authority’s regulation are six ‘consumer outcomes’ that firms should aim to achieve. Find out how you can embed these outcomes in your financial promotions and operational processes here.

Implement a culture of compliance

  • Compliance isn’t a tick-box exercise. Making sure your firm’s culture is geared towards good governance is vital. 
  • Ensuring the products you sell are suitable for buyers is one way to prevent problems. You can read more about the regulator’s requirements on suitability here. And read this blog for our ‘five ways to embed a culture of compliance in your business’.

Prevent non-compliant processes or financial promotions slipping through the net

  • A rigorous compliance process will make sure your promotions and sales processes come up to the FCA’s standards. Our Financial Promotions Checklist details the five key stages you should follow to ensure compliant promotions.

Make it easy for your business to follow the rules

  • Mandating compliance approval means nothing goes out without the right authorisation. Consider whether checklists or automated sign-off processes could help you here. Content or slide library can ‘lock down’ approved content – minimising opportunities for inaccurate performance data, incorrect AUM or other non-compliant information to be published.

If you’re keen to avoid appearing on the regulator’s ‘list of shame’, following these tips will definitely help. If you want to read more, our Treating Customers Fairly FAQs rounds up the questions firms ask most about how to achieve the TCF requirements. The FAQs are free, and you can download your copy here.


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