The Financial Services Authority will consult later this year on how firms' complaints-handling requirements may change as a result of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid).
At present, firms must comply with the FSA’s Dispute Resolution Complaints Sourcebook, which contains very detailed requirements for handling complaints and specific timeframes to respond within.
For example, the sourcebook states firms must send a written acknowledgment of a complaint to the complainant within five business days of its receipt and must issue a final response or holding response within four weeks of receipt.
By contrast, Mifid merely requires member states to implement procedures for the “reasonable and prompt” handling of complaints received by firms from retail clients.
Vanessa Wood, press officer at the FSA, states: “Mifid contains text concerning complaints and we will look at how this fits into our regulatory structure in a consultation paper later this year.”
Sources say the FSA will consider changing its handbook to prevent so-called 'gold-plating' and to avoid the situation arising where two different sets of rules exist for Mifid and non-Mifid firms in relation to their complaints handling.
But Simon Morris, partner at law firm CMS Cameron McKenna, states: "We've already got an indication of what the FSA thinks from client money, where they are going to keep the current UK protections, even though they go beyond and above the requirements of Mifid. Will they do something different when it comes to complaints? Of course not. They will keep what is working now, what is tried and tested, even if it means more gold-plating."
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