Out-of-court resolution of complaints: new CSSF circular 14/589 giving details regarding the provisions applicable to professionals that entered into force on 1st July 2014.
The said provisions applicable to professionals are set out in Section 2 of CSSF Regulation N° 13-02 of 15th October 2013 relating to out-of-court resolution of complaints (the “Regulation”). The Regulation, applying to any natural or legal person falling under the prudential supervision of the Luxembourg supervisory entity (Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier, “CSSF”), entered into force:
- on 1st January 2014 as regards the regulatory framework of the CSSF in order to handle customer and investor complaints (Sections 1 and 3 of the Regulation), and
- on 1st July 2014 as regards the obligations incumbent on professionals in relation to the handling of complaints (Section 2 of the Regulation).
Thus, all supervised entities are now required to adapt their internal procedures in compliance with all the Sections of the Regulation. In that respect, the CSSF issued new circular 14/589 in order to give additional details regarding Section 2 of the Regulation (the “Circular”).
As a general rule, all supervised entities have to establish a complaints management policy which shall be set out in a written document, formalised in an internal complaint settlement procedure and approved by the management of the relevant supervised entity. Such policy shall be efficient, transparent and objective in view of the reasonable and prompt complaint handling. The supervised entities shall ensure that each complaint and each measure taken to handle it are properly registered. In respect to such policy, the supervised entities shall on a continuing basis cooperate with the CSSF. Furthermore, the complaints management policy shall also be publicly disclosed in an easily accessible manner such as internet web site or a brochure or a leaflet.
The Circular provides further details related to the complaints management policy, such as the requirement to secure and to computerise the registration of the complaints and of the measure taken to handle such complaints. Moreover, each complaint shall be treated in an appropriate manner, within a reasonable time period (depending on the nature of the complaint) and in the best interest of the client. In this regard, hotlines or call centers may be put in place, depending on the number and the complexity of the complaints, says the Circular.
Besides, the Circular gives further clarifications as to the obligations of the responsible person at the level of the management being in charge of the implementation and the efficient operation of a structure as well as the internal procedure for complaint handeling. Thus, a member of the management shall be appointed responsible of the handling of the complaints and shall duly inform the concerned staff. Although internal delegation of the handling of the complaints may be envisaged, the said member of the mamagement will remain the sole contact person towards the CSSF.
As regards the Regulation requirement related to the annual communication to the CSSF of relevant data on clients’ complaints, the Circular reminds that should be considered as a complaint each “complaint filed with a professional to recognise a right or to redress a harm” and provides a template to be used by the supervised entities with a table including the number of complaints registered by the supervised entity and classification by type of complaints.
The Circular finally outlines that the first annual reporting to the CSSF shall occur before 1st March 2015 and cover the period going from 1st July to 31st December 2014.