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What is a financial promotion?
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Latest FCA data shows big increase in complaints

Steve Coleman

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This week, the Financial Conduct Authority released its latest complaints data.

The regulator shares information every six months on the complaints firms receive. What can we learn from this new round of data?

  1. 1. Complaints continue to increase…

There’s a steady pattern of increasing complaints. In the first half of 2018, they continued to increase for the fourth successive half year

  1. 2. …and are at a record level

In H1 2018, 4.13 million complaints were made to 3,161 firms – a 10% increase compared with the previous six-month period.

  1. 3. The majority of complaints relate to a small number of firms

98% of the complaints were made to 235 firms, which received 500 or more complaints each.

  1. 4. PPI remains the most complained-about product

42% of all complaints received in H1 2018 related to PPI. This is up from 41% in H2 2017 and 33% in H1 2017.

Current accounts are the next-most complained about product (accounting for around 15% of all complaints), with credit cards (8%) and motor/transport insurance (6%) fourth and fifth.

  1. 5. PPI complaints are driving much of the increase

PPI-related complaints were up 11% in H1 2018 compared to H2 2017. The FCA’s media campaign about the deadline for complaints is thought to be behind much of this leap.

  1. 6. Firms are getting slower at closing down complaints

In H2 2017, 39% of all complaints were closed within three business days. In H1 2018, this had dropped to 35%. This has largely been driven by the increase in PPI complaints, which typically take longer to resolve. 59% of all complaints excluding PPI were resolved within three business days.

Treat customers fairly and deliver good outcomes to avoid complaints

Commenting on the new data, Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the regulator, reiterated some familiar themes: 

'Firms need to be doing all that they can to reduce complaints…It should be a priority for firms to ensure good consumer outcomes are achieved and they should be making sure that they are taking the right steps to treat customers fairly.’

Good outcomes and fair treatment are regular areas of focus for the Authority. We’ve shared tips before on how to achieve the FCA’s consumer outcomes and how to ensure you’re treating customers fairly. You can also read our FAQs on the TCF rules, which provide a good summary of some of the key issues.

5 strategies for avoiding customer complaints

You can read a full list of complaints by company on the FCA website. If you want to avoid appearing on future complaints lists, we’ve compiled some tips that should keep you on the right side of your customers (and the regulator).

  1. 1. Meeting customer expectations is a key element of ensuring satisfaction. Make sure your financial promotions comply with the requirements, not just of the FCA but the ASA and CAP, who regulate all advertising in the UK. Refresh your memory on what constitutes a financial promotion and the rules that apply and find out how to comply with the CAP code.

  2. 2. Check that your advice and sales processes meet regulatory requirements. If you advertise online, read more on how to avoid producing misleading online ads. Manage the risks inherent in your social media strategy to ensure a compliant approach to Twitter, Linkedin and any other channels you use.

  3. 3. Keep on top of existing regulations, as well as any new ones coming into force. Read more about the 5 regulations you need to tackle in 2018.

  4. 4. Explore ways that innovation and regulatory technology can improve your regulatory compliance.

  5. 5. Make sure your client service matches up to your promises – read tips on how you can convert client care promises into action

A culture of compliance helps

Putting the customer at the heart of your business is one way to improve your chances of staying off any complaints list. This means not just taking the steps above, but making sure compliance and good governance – whether around financial promotions, sales processes or operations – are embedded in your corporate DNA.

To read more about how to create a compliance-focused culture, you can download a copy of our whitepaper, How to embed a compliance culture within your business. The whitepaper is free, and you can get a copy here

Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.

How to embed a compliance culture in your business

Topics: Compliance

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