How to avoid falling foul of the FCA: Compliant Free Selling

May 15th '17

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently published its latest data on complaints.

The information covers the complaints the FCA received about the firms it regulates.

What does the latest data say?

From July-December 2016:

  • 2,977 firms reported one or more complaint
  • In total, 3.04 million complaints were received. PPI accounts for 895,110 of these, or 29%, and remains the most complained-about product
  • 43% of complaints were closed within three days, and 97% within eight weeks. 60% of all complaints were upheld
  • In total, £1.9bn was paid out to consumers by way of redress (around £1.6bn of this for PPI)

The regulator’s website has a table where you can search by firm to see any complaints received.

A change in the way complaints are measured

Because of changes in the way the Authority collects and reports on complaints, the latest data isn’t directly comparable to previous statistics.

But it does give a valuable insight into the reasons consumers and clients report firms to the regulator.

Most complained-about products

PPI remains the most complained about product.

Other complaints related to:

  • Current accounts (approximately 514,000 complaints, or 17% of the total)
  • Credit cards (approximately 313,000 complaint; 10% of the total)
  • Motor and transport insurance (over 220,000 complaints; 7% of the total)
  • Packaged back accounts (just over 172,000 complaints; approximately 6% of the total)

What do people complain about?

  • General administration and customer service issues

These are the source of the largest number of complaints – 40% of the total.

For firms, this shows the importance of delivering the FCA’s required consumer outcomes around fair treatment, clear communications, suitability and performance.

  • ‘Advising, selling and arranging’

This was close behind, accounting for 39% of complaints – almost 1,200,000 in total – and will be of most concern to Sales teams.

[caption id="attachment_6055" align="aligncenter" width="771"]Source: FCA Source: FCA[/caption]

Any reputable firm will want to have a sales process that is above reproach. What steps can you take to make sure you stay off the FCA’s ‘naughty list’?

How to avoid complaints

  1. Be honest and clear when selling to new customers. Make sure all your financial promotions are compliant with the regulator’s guidance and you’re complying with the Treating Customers Fairly requirements.
  2. Follow best practice guidelines when you communicate with existing customers.
  3. If you’re active on social media, keep up to speed with the FCA’s guidelines on social media compliance.
  4. Make sure you abide by rules on suitability of products and solutions.

We’ve teamed up with Perivan Technology, to create a free guide on HOW TO PREPARE FOR AN FCA VISIT. It contains a wealth of tips on how you can be ready for the FCA if they decide to visit your firm. The guide is free, and you can download a copy here.

How we can help you

We offer a complete solution with a range of cost effective, marketing and compliance products and solutions including Copy Advice which are uniquely suited to supporting firms.

Explore our full range today.