FCA clarifies complaints handling priorities during pandemic

4th May 2020

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published clarification about how firms should be handling complaints during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Members may access the information by clicking here

In summary, the statement notes that firms should take all reasonable steps to ensure as much complaint handling as possible continues through staff working from home, where this can be done fairly and effectively.

The FCA said it understood that firms’ capacity to handle complaints could be reduced as a result of the pandemic and therefore it expected firms to prioritise:

1. paying promptly complainants who have been offered redress and accepted that offer.

2. the prompt and fair resolution of complaints from:

    1. consumers who are likely to be vulnerable to harm if their complaint is not resolved promptly and fairly, and
    2. micro-enterprises and small businesses which are likely to face serious financial difficulties if their complaint is not resolved promptly and fairly.

3. sending timely holding responses to those complainants in 2. where their complaints cannot be resolved promptly.

The FCA said it would consider it appropriate for firms to maintain a minimal physical presence onsite at their premises, if they were unable to deliver on the above three priorities adequately and effectively through home working.  This was as long as the site was configured for social distancing in line with Government guidelines.

The FCA said it would review and update the statement in three months’ time.

BIBA members’ compliance and regulation queries should be directed to: [email protected].