This Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Bank of England (the Bank) consultation paper (CP) sets out proposed changes to their joint complaints scheme (the Scheme). The Scheme was set up under the Financial Services Act 2012 to cover the procedures for handling complaints against the regulators themselves (as opposed to complaints against regulated firms), and to describe the role of the independent Complaints Commissioner.
The CP proposes a new version of the Scheme to simplify its wording and make it more accessible to its main users – consumers and small businesses – as well as others. It also puts forward a more detailed description of the regulators’ approach to remedies, in particular ex-gratia compensatory payments (which is a payment made out of goodwill, without any legal obligation to make it).
This consultation may be of interest to anyone who is a potential or actual complainant under the Scheme. This includes regulated businesses and consumers of financial services. It may also be of interest to consumer advocates and action groups, trade associations, journalists and politicians, among others.
The aim is for the new version of the Scheme to come into force as soon as reasonably practicable, after taking comments from the consultation into account.
Responses and next steps
Following closure of the consultation on proposals to amend the complaints scheme, the regulators are currently analysing the responses received so that we can take further decisions about the proposals. In the meantime, the regulators are conscious of the concerns raised by some respondents regarding the timing of amendments to the scheme. In light of this, the policy statement on the consultation and any changes to the scheme will not be published until towards the end of 2021. This will allow time for the publication of the report following the independent review of the FSA/FCA’s supervisory intervention on Interest Rate Hedging Products, and for any associated complaints to be lodged for consideration under the present scheme.