The definition of a complaint relating to non MiFID business is:
‘Any oral or written expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, from, or on behalf of, a person about the provision of, or failure to provide, a financial service, which:
- alleges that the complainant has suffered (or may suffer) financial loss, material distress or material inconvenience; and
- relates to an activity of our firm, or of any other firm with whom we have some connection in marketing or providing financial services or products, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service’.
The definition of a complaint relating to MiFID business is:
‘any oral or written expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, from, or on behalf of, a person about the provision of, or failure to provide, a financial service, which alleges that the complainant has suffered (or may suffer) financial loss, material distress or material inconvenience’.
A complaint can be made via any reasonable means, including letter, telephone, email, and in person.
No charge will be made for handling a complaint from an eligible complainant.
A written summary of our internal process for dealing with complaints promptly and fairly must be given to eligible complainants on request and when acknowledging a complaint, free of charge.
An eligible complainant is:
- a consumer;
- micro enterprise; or
- a charity with annual income of less than £1 million; or
- a trustee of a trust with a net asset value of less than £1 million.
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 a client, which might be considered as a complaint, must be referred to Darren Fulford so that it can be determined as to whether is a complaint or not.
Once it has been established if the matter is a complaint, the Compliance Office will notify the Professional Indemnity Insurers in accordance with the terms and conditions of our PII 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 distress or material inconvenience; and
- 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 understanding of the complaint and will invite the complainant to contact him if their understanding is incorrect.
The acknowledgment 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:-
- a) provide the complainant with regular updates on our progress.
- b) 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.
- c) advise them that on completion of our review, we shall write to the complainant informing them of the outcome.
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 adviser / member of staff whose actions or omissions gave rise to the complaint issue(s) raised.
If the Compliance Officer is subject to the complaint, the investigation will then be conducted by Neil Igglesden, Managing Director.
The investigation will include, as a minimum:
- a review of the relevant client file;
- take into account any information and / or documents submitted by the complainant (including any standard questionnaires i.e. the mortgage endowment questionnaire);
- if necessary, a request for any additional information; and
- contact with 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.
Ombudsman decisions / guidance
When investigating a complaint, decisions made by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) on similar complaint issues will be taken into account prior to making a final decision.
Guidance provided by the FOS i.e. via its own website, will also be taken into account.
Resolving a complaint
Following the completion of the investigation, the Compliance Officers will issue a written Final Response letter to the complainant.
The Final Response letter will be fair, clear and not misleading and will provide the complainant with:
- details of the investigation;
- the outcome of the investigation;
- if relevant, any offer of remedial action(s) or the appropriate level of redress (or both), and the basis of calculation;
- details of their right to refer the matter onto the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). We will also confirm whether or not we consent to the FOS considering a complaint if the complaint has been made or is referred outside the time limits specified under FCA rules. Under these rules the ombudsman service cannot normally look at a complaint if it is referred more than 6 months after our final response is issued, or, 6 years from when the act complained of happened (and 3 years from when the complainant should reasonably have been aware of a problem); and
- contact details of the FOS (including details of the website address for the Financial Ombudsman service)
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 Oficer.
Where no confirmation has been received from the complainant within 8 weeks of the firm’s 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 a complainant is regularly kept informed of our progress with regards to the investigation into their complaint.
Any progress updates will include:
- the reasons for any delay;
- what further information / documents we require to resolve their complaint; and
- when they may expect to receive a further update / our Final Response letter
We will work towards completing our investigation into a complaint within eight weeks of its receipt.
In the event that we have been unable to conclude our investigation within the eight 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 week 8 response letter.
We will also confirm whether or not we consent to the FOS considering a complaint if it becomes apparent that the complaint has been made or referred outside the time limits specified under FCA rules. Under these rules the ombudsman service cannot normally look at a complaint if it is referred more than 6 months after our final response is issued, or, 6 years from when the act complained of happened (and 3 years from when the complainant should reasonably have been aware of a problem)
Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
If a complaint 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. Consideration will be given to any awards made which are above the Ombudsman’s limit at that time.
Any cases where the FOS’s decision disagrees with the firm’s final decision will be summarised and analysed by Darren Fulford, Compliance Officer Details of this analysis will be communicated to all individuals involved in complaint handling. The decision is relayed in letter as soon as we are notified of the outcome. PI insurers are notified by email. Directors are also emailed.
The firm undertakes to pay promptly the fees levied by the FOS.
Referring a complaint to another firm
If a complaint is received whereby the firm has reasonable grounds to be satisfied that another firm 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 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 at least 3 years from the date the complaint is received.
Complaints received in relation to MiFID business, records will be retained for a least a period of 5 years.
A record will be made of each complaint, which relates to MiFID business, even if it is resolved by close of business on the following business day of its receipt.
For complaints which do not relate to MiFID business, we have in place appropriate management controls and take reasonable steps to ensure that the firm can identify and remedy any recurring or systemic problems.
For complaints which relate to MiFID business, the firm will use the information it gains from dealing with complaints of this type, to inform the relevant person responsible for its compliance, with its obligations to monitor the adequacy and effectiveness of its measures and procedures to detect and minimise any risk of compliance failures.
Oversight of Complaint Handling
Darren Fulford is overall responsible for complaints within Radcliffe & Co and will be responsible for:
- Reviewing the firm’s management information in relation to complaints and assess whether it is fit for purpose.
- Reviewing management information and assessing whether appropriate action(s) need to be taken following the result of a root cause analysis.
Recurring & Systemic problems
Recurring or systemic problems are identified / remedied by:
- Analysing the root causes of common types of complaints;
- Considering whether such root causes may have an effect on other processes or products, which were not directly involved in the complaints; and
- Correcting, where reasonable to do so, such root causes.
A root cause analysis will be undertaken by Darren Fulford Compliance Officer – the departmental manager will also be involved. This will only be undertaken if a pattern emerges and requires investigation.
If relevant, any recurring and systematic problems identified will be addressed accordingly.
Details of any root cause analysis conducted will be communicated to all staff immediately by email.
Notifications to the FCA
For complaints received since 1 January 2013, we will notify the FCA within 20 business days:
- Whenever 3 complaints are upheld relating to an individual investment adviser in any 12 month period or
- Where a complaint is upheld and redress paid exceeds £50000
Training & Development
As part of their training and development, individuals responsible for handling complaints within the firm will be provided with details of ombudsman’s decisions so that this information can be taken into account when investigating complaints received.
ALL staff (including all administration and secretarial staff) are to be given a copy of this document and to sign their acknowledgment of receipt, understanding and agreement to act within the requirements at all times.