TR14/18 – Complaint handling

We publish the findings from our thematic review of complaint handling.

Why are we issuing this thematic review?

In this review we sought to identify any barriers within firms that could prevent effective complaint handling in the future. Our supervision of firms focuses on their culture and behaviour – which can be seen in how they treat consumers. This is why how firms handle consumer complaints matters, and always will.

By understanding firms’ complaint-handling policies and processes, we wanted to see whether consumers had been put at the heart of firms’ businesses. In relation to complaints, this means firms having effective and transparent complaint-handling arrangements which ensure that complaints are dealt with reasonably, promptly and fairly.

Who is this thematic review aimed at?

This document is relevant to all financial services firms regulated by us.

TR14/18 Complaint handling

What will we do?

We are considering proposed recommendations that emerged during the review, including changes to our DISP rules.

We are now doing some further research in light of these recommendations, with a view to developing policy proposals, which we expect to consult on soon.

What do you need to do next?

The 15 firms in the review have identified improvements they can make in each of the five key stages of firm complaint handling. All firms should consider how our findings relate to their own complaint-handling operating models, policies and practices. In particular, firms may like to focus on:

  • Whether their complaint-handling policies and processes fully consider whether their approach to complaints have the interests of consumers at their heart, avoiding a tick-box approach to compliance with our DISP rules.
  • Reviewing their definition of ‘complaint’ and training their staff where the definition is not properly understood.
  • Whether their systems and processes could inhibit accurate recording of complaints (and further consider how this impacts on their ability to conduct root cause analysis).
  • The observations made about consistency of redress and distress and inconvenience payments.
  • Considering their approach to root cause analysis – focusing on the observations made here.
  • Whether they can make any improvements to their MI (messaging, interpretation, quality metrics and use of targets).

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