The FCA has been working with a number of major retail financial firms, including insurers, on a forward-looking thematic review aimed at identifying areas for improvement in handling consumer complaints.

The purpose of the review was to identify any barriers within firms that prevent effective complaint handling.  The review did not address PPI complaints.

The FCA has not made specific recommendations, but the report notes that all firms should consider how the FCA’s findings relate to their own complaint handling operating models, policies and practices.  The FCA has suggested that firm might like to focus in particular on:

  • whether their complaints-handling policies have consumers’ interests at their heart and avoid a tick-box approach;
  • reviewing their definition of “complaint” and training staff where the definition is not properly understood; and
  • whether their systems and processes could inhibit accurate recording of complaints;

As a result of the review, the FCA is considering making changes to the DISP rules in the FCA Handbook.  The working group proposals also included reconsidering firms’ biannual reporting of complaints data to the FCA.

The FCA is doing further research with a view to developing policy proposals and expects to consult on them soon.