1) POLICY STATEMENT
Pinnacle Financial Contracts Ltd (PFCL) view is that every complaint is an opportunity to improve an outcome and turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied long-term client. Customers should have confidence that if something goes wrong during the sales or after sale process, the company will treat their complaint seriously and take the appropriate and fair action to resolve the complaint. Where complaints are upheld, appropriate action will be taken to ensure the customer’s position is corrected and any material cost rectified. Where a complaint is rejected, [add firm] will take all appropriate action to ensure the customer is informed on the result of the investigation and receives clarity on the rejection decision.
This policy sets out the requirements for handling complaints relating to regulated and non-regulated activities by PFCL.
This policy applies to all complaints pertaining to PFCL.
4) LEGAL CONTEXT
Regulated activities: To ensure that business principles and TCF outcomes are met, the FCA has set out specific rules and guidance around complaint handling, these can be found in the FCA Handbook, Dispute Resolution: Complaints (DISP).
If we do not deal with the complaint to the satisfaction of the customer, the customer has the right to refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS will levy a charge for investigating the complaint, consequently all complaints referred to the FOS will cost the firm. Any decision made by the ombudsman is binding on the firm.
The FCA define a complaint as an expression of dissatisfaction (oral or written), whether justified or not, from. Or on behalf of a person about the provision of, or failure to provide, a financial service. Claims management service or a redress determination which:
PFCL will ensure that the FCA’s DISP rules are adhered to and all complaints will be dealt with within the 8 week timescale required by The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). All complaints will be recorded and this management information used for root cause analysis and reporting purposes. PFCL has a responsibility to ensure that all staff are trained appropriately and that a customer is informed on how and who to address a complaint too.
Employees of PFCL are expected to understand and follow the complaints procedure with integrity and honesty.
PFCL will conduct internal audit activities to provide assurance of the above on a consistent basis.
Communication - The procedure for directing complaints to [add firm], along with information pertaining to referral to the Financial Services or Motor Ombudsman is detailed on the Initial Disclosure Document (where IDD is required) and on the key regulatory and policy documents provided to customers via retailing clients. It is further detailed on the [add firm] website. As per regulatory requirement, the primary Complaints Officer is also detailed on the Financial Services Register. All communications to customers will be clear, fair and not misleading.
PFCL endeavour to resolve a complaint at the earliest possible opportunity. PFCL fully recognise and work to a service standard well within the response times required by the Financial Conduct Authority:
Complaints resolved by the close of the 3rd business day following receipt are only considered closed if confirmation that the eligible complainant has accepted the resolution is obtained within the period and a summary resolution letter has been issued to the complainant. (Appendix 1 – Summary resolution letter template). However, these complaints must still be logged and recorded to ensure accurate management information is available to enable further root cause analysis and to inform FCA reporting.
If the complaint is not resolved by the 3rd business day an acknowledgement letter will be sent to the complainant within 5 working days. The letter will summarise the procedure that will be followed to deal with the complaint, and in the case of complaint around regulated activity will enclose the Financial Ombudsman Service leaflet entitled ‘Your complaint and the Ombudsman’. (Appendix 3 – Acknowledgement letter templates)
We will aim to resolve all complaints quickly without comprising the quality of the investigation. Where a complaint cannot be resolved within 4 weeks the complainant will be kept informed by updating them on progress at the 4 week stage. This letter will outline the current situation and the planned course of action to complete the investigation. (Appendix 4– Update letter templates)
All complaints will be resolved within 8 weeks and an appropriate final response letter issued. The letter will include:
Notes on final resolution letter: - this will be issued at any point during a maximum 8 week process where investigation has identified cause and fault and appropriate redress can be offered should the complaint be upheld or explanation provided should the complaint be rejected.
Where a complaint is not resolved within 8 weeks, a further letter will be sent to the complainant outlining how the investigation is progressing and any ongoing actions; this letter will also include the contact details of the FOS and their leaflet. (Appendix 5 – Final Resolution letter templates)
The investigation plan should deal with the following aspects of each complaint:
All complaints received by [add firm] or a member the AR network will result in one of the following decisions, this will be decided following investigation by the Complaint Handler in association, if required, with the Compliance Director.
Where the Complaint Handler agrees with all the issues being raised by
the complainant and may offer redress and / or compensation
Where the Complaint Handler agrees that some of the issues being raised were the fault of [add firm] or the AR Firm and may offer redress and / or compensation
Where the Complaint Handler does not agree with the complainant, no offer of redress and / or compensation will be made
6) MONITORING AND ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS
The Complaints Manager has consistent oversight of complaints and will on a consistent basis review all complaints to identify root cause and assess whether the root cause has or could have an effect on other customers. Where any systemic failing is identified a proposal to rectify will be delivered to key parties and action taken to ensure the failing is not repeated our rights.
This policy will be communicated to PFCL suppliers, contractors, business partners and wider stakeholders as necessary.
Training and guidance will be updated and communicated as appropriate on a regular basis and all relevant staff will receive regular, relevant training on how to implement and adhere to this policy.
The Complaints Manager should ensure that staff are aware of this policy and its requirements. If staff have any queries in relation to the policy, they should discuss this with the Complaints Manager.
PFCL will retain copies of all complaints records for a period of 6 years. This policy will be reviewed periodically and historical records retained for 6 years.