On September 30, 2010, the U.K. Financial Services Authority (FSA) released a consultation paper proposing changes to its rules regarding how financial firms handle consumer complaints. Specifically, the FSA proposed: (i) abolishing the current two-stage complaints handling process; (ii) requiring firms to identify a senior individual responsible for complaints handling; (iii) setting out guidance regarding how firms can satisfy rules relating to root cause analysis of complaints received; (iv) providing guidance regarding the requirement that firms take into account decisions of the ombudsman service and other material when resolving complaints; and (v) increasing the ombudsman service's award limit from £100,000 to £150,000. The changes are proposed to be implemented between August 2011 and July 2012 and would, according to the FSA, "improve how customers are treated when they complain to firms, and ultimately lead to increased consumer confidence in financial services".
In Canada, changes to IIROC's Dealer Member Rules requiring its members to designate a complaints officer and establish complaint-handling procedures went into effect on February 1 of this year. Changes to the MFDA policy regarding complaint handling also took effect on February 1. The CSA have also proposed amendments to National Instrument 31-103 Registration Requirements and Exemptions and the related companion policy with respect to client complaints and dispute resolution. While these provisions currently apply to all registrants, one of the proposed amendments would exempt IIROC and MFDA members from the relevant sections of NI 31-103CP now that MFDA and IIROC rules have come into effect.