The thematic review aimed to uncover barriers to effective complaint handling in firms and, where found, to work with industry to propose solutions.
The complaints processes at 15 major retail financial firms were assessed, and results considered at an FCA-chaired working group made up of the participant firms and five trade bodies.
The FCA also sought the views of the Financial Ombudsman Service and consumer groups.
Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA, said: “It’s in everyone’s interest to consider how to make complaints handling more effective; that’s why it was important to us to work collaboratively with industry on this project and I would like to thank the firms for participating.
“Together we have identified improvements that should be made and firms will act on these findings.”
The FCA found that some improvements and innovations have already been made, however it made a number of recommendations on how complaints processes could be improved, including changes to FCA rules.
· Ensuring that calls to dedicated complaints telephone lines cost no more than the basic rate.
· Extending the next business day rule so that firms have longer to get consumer acceptance that the complaint has been resolved.
· Removing the non-reportable complaints rule so that all complaints have to be reported to the FCA (DISP 1.5 exempts firms from reporting complaints that are resolved by close of business on the working day after they are received).
· Reviewing the bi-annual Complaints Return to include more consumer-centric measures.
· Revising the FCA publication of firms’ complaints (e.g. including more contextualised data).
The FCA is now considering these recommendations and will be consulting on possible policy changes. Firms and consumer bodies will then be encouraged to provide their views and contribute to this process.