FSA introduces higher requirements for complaints handling

The British Financial Services Authority (FSA) confirmed on Friday 27 of May new complaints handling rules with the aim of improving standards within the industry. The new rules include:

  • A fair one-stage complaints handling procedure;
  • Requirements for firms to identify a senior official who takes responsibility for complaints handling;
  • Guidance to help firms to understand the process they might need in place to met FSA requirements on root cause analysis; and
  • Requirements for firms to take account of ombudsman decisions and previous customer complaints.

FSA director of conduct policy, Sheila Nicoll, commented: “Good complaints handling contributes to customer loyalty and should provide the opportunity for firms to put right problems in product design or sales before issues become widespread. But we have found major failures with the way firms handle customer complaints.”

On 25 May 2011 the FSA announced a fine for Bank of Scotland of 3.5 million Pounds for failures related to complaints handling of its retail investment products. This is the second firm fined following the FSA’s review of complaints handling practices by five major banking groups.

The British consumer organization, Consumer Focus, welcomed the new rules: “It’s good news for consumers that FSA is taking a stronger line on complaints handling. This is an industry with confusing products and an appalling record for mis-selling.”


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Source: FSA and Consumer Focus