FCA updates on Covid-19 and complaints handling

FCA has reviewed and updated its webpage on how firms should handle complaints during Covid-19. It has made some minor changes to its previous statement and will review it again at the end of October. The guidance addresses:

  • capacity and priorities: FCA stresses the importance of firms taking all reasonable steps to ensure as much complaint handling as possible continues including where staff are working from home;
  • FCA’s expectation on relevant senior managers being accountable for oversight of complaints handling, and ensuring that, where firms have reduced capacity, they prioritise prompt payments, customers (individual or SME) who are likely to be vulnerable or suffer severe difficulties if complaints are not resolved promptly and fairly. and send prompt holding responses where necessary;
  • vulnerable customers, who are likely to be more vulnerable in these times, and those who would not normally be vulnerable but who may now be suffering, for example, through lack of income or impact on mental health, or the stresses that some key workers are operating under. FCA also stresses that businesses can be particularly susceptible to harm if firms do not resolve their complaints using the appropriate levels of care;
  • that there should be no reduction in the quality of complaint handling – and firms should by now have been able to embed new ways of working. As a result, FCA does not expect any failures to comply with the DISP rules other than in exceptional circumstances; and
  • expectations on CMCs to be reasonable and to co-operate with FOS, which in turn reached agreement with FCA on the handling of complaints relating to the Covid-19 targeted temporary measures.

Emma Radmore