This statement explains our current approach to deciding what we do when we agree that a complaint made about the FCA under the Complaints Scheme (the Scheme) is well founded. We aim to apply a consistent and fair approach to ensure remedies are appropriate and proportionate, based on the individual features of the complaint and what went wrong.
The remedies we apply
In deciding what remedy is appropriate we take into account the factors set out in paragraph 7.14 of the Scheme. We generally take one or more of the following steps:
- Make an apology
When we consider a complaint is well founded, we apologise.
- Take an action to address the complaint
In some instances, there is an action we can take to address the complaint, such as providing further explanation or guidance, implementing steps to end or reduce a delay, or correcting an error or inaccuracy.
- Make recommendations
When investigating any complaint, we always consider whether there are changes that we could make to our practices, policies or procedures to improve these or to help avoid a recurrence of the same problem in the future.
- Make a compensatory payment on an ex gratia basis
The FCA has legal immunity from liability to pay damages (compensation) unless it is found that we have acted in bad faith or have breached a complainant’s human rights. Therefore, whilst the Scheme does include a provision for ex gratia payments, we do not award compensation or damages in the same way as a court would do.
In some cases, a complainant may have suffered a specific inconvenience or an emotional impact, for example due to delays or poor service by the FCA. In such cases, we consider whether a payment might be appropriate to recognise their distress and inconvenience. We do not have set amounts that we award in such cases as individual complainants are affected differently depending on their specific circumstances. Typically, such payments are in the region of £25-£100. Where an impact is more severe or prolonged, a payment in the region of £100-£300 may be appropriate.
We sometimes receive complaints from individuals seeking reimbursement of financial losses they have suffered. In many of these cases, the loss is caused by a third party, such as a regulated firm, and so we do not make any payment. The complaint made about the FCA is typically that our regulation lacked sufficient care, or failed to prevent their loss.
In order for us to consider making an ex gratia payment in respect of financial loss, complainants would need to evidence that they have suffered a quantifiable financial loss caused solely or primarily by the actions or inaction of the FCA, for example that they have incurred expenses, or lost money. Typically, any such payment would not reflect the full amount lost.
The factors we consider when determining the remedy
In deciding what remedy is appropriate we consider the factors set out in paragraph 7.14 of the Scheme, which are:
- the gravity of any misconduct identified on our part and its consequences for the complainant;
- the nature of our relationship with the complainant and the extent to which the complainant has been adversely affected in the course of direct dealings with us;
- whether what has gone wrong is at the operational or administrative level; and
- that the costs of compensatory payments are ultimately borne by firms, issuers of listed securities and, indirectly, consumers.
In most cases where a complaint is upheld, we consider that an apology and taking action to address the complaint is the most appropriate remedy.
Matters that remedies will not address
We consider that a complainant should not need a professional advisor or expert advice to be able to make a complaint under the Scheme. So, while a complainant might choose to instruct someone to represent them, or to give expert advice or support, we do not usually reimburse the costs incurred for this, even if a complaint is upheld.
If your complaint is about a loss caused by a regulated firm or individual and not about the FCA, this is not a matter for the Scheme. You will need to refer this matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme as appropriate.
In the near future, we intend to consult on our approach to remedies for complaints, including compensation.