Our Complaints procedure
The definition of a complaint is:
Any Oral or written expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, form or on behalf of , a person about the provision of, or failure to provide, a financial service which:
a)Alleges that the complainant has suffered (or may suffer) financial loss, material distress or material inconvenience and
b) Relates top an activity of our firm or of any with whom we have some connection in marketing or providing financial services or products, which comes under the jurisdiction of the financial ombudsman service.
A complaint may be made via any reasonable means, including letter, telephone, email and in person.
A summary of our internal process for dealing with complaints promptly and fairly, must be given eligible complainants on request and when acknowledging a complaint.
Eligible complainants are:
A private or individual: or
A business with a group annual turnover of less than £1million or
A charity with annual income of less than £1million or
A trustee of a trust with a net asset value of less than £1million
It is the firm’s policy to treat all complaints, whether regulated or not, according to the complaints procedures.
Receiving a complaint
All complaints, whether oral or written and made by or on behalf of a customer, must be referred immediately to the person responsible for handling complaints, even if the complaint has already been resolved by an apology.
Any oral or written statement made by the client, which might be considered as a complaint, must be referred so that it can be determined as to whether it is a complaint or not.
Once it has been established if the matter is a complaint, the person responsible will notify the professional indemnity insurers in accordance with the terms and conditions of our P11 Policy.
The remaining sections apply only to complaints, which meet the following definition:
The complaint is made by or on behalf of an eligible complainant
The complaint relates to a regulated activity of the firm
The complaint involves an allegation that the complainant has suffered ( or may suffer) financial loss, material stress or material inconvenience
The complaint has not been resolved by close of the next business day following its receipt.
Any complaint resolved by the firm by close of business the following business day of its receipt, will still be investigated competently, diligently and impartially, be assessed fairly, consistently and promptly and all relevant factors will be taken into account.
Acknowledging a complaint
The compliance officer will acknowledge the complaint in writing. The written acknowledgement will be issued promptly.
In relation to oral complaints, the written acknowledgement will set out( his/her understanding) of the complaint and will invite the complainant to contact (him/her) if their understanding is incorrect.
The acknowledgement letter will outline the result of the investigation if this has been completed.
If the investigation has not been completed, the acknowledgement letter will confirm that the firm will:
provide the complainant with regular updates on our progress
advise them that if our investigation has not been completed within 8 weeks of our receipt of the complaint, we will write to the complainant informing them why we are not yet in a position to resolve their complaint and provide details of their rights to refer the matter to the financial ombudsman service.
Advise them that on completion of our review, we shall write to the complainant informing them of the outcome.
A summary of our internal process for dealing with complaints promptly and fairly will be forwarded with the acknowledgement letter.
Investigating a complaint
Any investigation conducted will be, fair, consistent, and will be dealt with promptly.
The compliance officer will investigate all complaints and may , where appropriate, consult the advisor/member of staff whose actions or omissions gave rise to the complaint issue (s) raised.
If the compliance officer is subject to the complaint, investigation will then be conducted by Simon Stephens.
The investigation will include:
A review of the relevant client file.
Take into account and information and/or documents submitted by the complainant. (including and standard questionnaires i.e the mortgage endowment questionnaire.
Contact the relevant provider(s) if relevant.
If remedial action and/or redress is to be offered, the type of remedial action and the level of redress must be fair and appropriate.
Resolving a complaint
Following completion of the investigation the compliance officer will issue a written final response letter to the complainant.
The final response letter will be fair, clear and not mislead and will provide the complainant with:
Details of the investigation
The outcome of the investigation
If relevant, any offer or remedial action(s) or the appropriate level of redress (or both) and the basis of calculation.
Details of their right to refer the matter on to the financial ombudsman service (FOS) and advise that this must be done within 6 months from the date of this letter, or they may lose that right and
Contact details of the FOS
A copy of FOS’s standard explanatory leaflet must be issued with the final response letter, unless provided earlier.
If the firm receives confirmation from the complainant that they are satisfied with the findings and outcome of the investigation and/or the redress being offered, the complaint will be considered to be closed by the compliance officer.
Where no confirmation has been received from the complainant within 8 weeks of the firms final response, the complaint will also be considered closed. However under the concept of TCF, should the complainant contact the firm after 8 weeks, we will review any further correspondence accordingly.
Keeping a complainant informed
We will ensure that the complainant is regularly kept informed of our progress with regards to the investigation into their complaint.
Any progress updates will include:
The reason for any delay
What further information/documents we require to resolve their complaint
When they may expect to receive a further update/ our final response letter
We will work towards completing our investigation into a complaint within 8 weeks of its receipt.
In the event that we have been unable to conclude our investigation within the 8 week period, we will write to the complainant, informing them of the reasons for the delay and that if he/she is not satisfied with our progress, he/she may refer the matter to the FOS. A copy of the FOS’s standard explanatory leaflet must be issued with the 8 week response letter.
Financial Ombudsman Service
If a compliant is referred to the FOS , the firm will fully co-operate with them and comply promptly with any settlement and awards made by it.
The firm agrees to be bound by any awards made by the ombudsman
The firm undertakes to pay promptly the fees levied by the FOS.
Referring a complain to another
If a complaint is received whereby the firm has reasonable grounds to be satisfied that another firm/provider/lender is solely or jointly responsible for the issue (s) raised, the case will be referred promptly, in a durable medium to that firm.
The firm will also inform the complainant promptly of the referral and provide them with the other firms/providers/lender contact details.
If the firm is responsible on a joint basis, we will investigate those issue(s) in line with our normal procedures.
An entry of each complaint received will be made within the firms complaints register, which will be maintained at all times.
The firm will retain a record of each complaint received for the last 3 years from the date the complaint is received.
ALL Staff ( including all administration and secretarial staff) are to be given a copy of this document and to sign their acknowledgement of receipt, understanding and agreement to act within the requirements at all times.