The FCA has published a policy statement and near-final rules (PS18/21) on small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SME) access to the FOS. The change allows a wider range of complainants to access the FOS by changing the definition of an ‘eligible complainant’ in the DISP section of the FCA Handbook. ‘Eligible complainant’ will include more SMEs, charities, trusts and certain personal guarantors of loans to a business they are involved in. The larger focus of the policy statement is on SMEs, as there are more SMEs, and they are likely to be dependent on financial services.

The FCA has made some changes to its approach published in its earlier consultation and this is explained in the policy statement. The FCA aims to finalise the near-final rules before the end of 2018 and the rules are expected to come into force on 1 April 2019. The FCA indicates that it intends to carry out a post‑implementation review of the impact of these new rules by 2021.