The Financial Services Authority (FSA) needs to improve its communication with consumers and firms via its call centres, according to its "Performance Account" report published yesterday.
The report compares the FSA’sperformance over the last six months with its service standards and suggests 76% of the standards were met, 19% were nearly met and 5% were not met.
The standards which the FSA failed to meet all relate to its consumer and firm contact centres: providing a substantive response to correspondence received by the consumer call centre; meeting requests received through the automated consumer leaflet request telephone lines; and not abandoning calls made to the firm contact centre.
Fay Goddard, deputy director general at the Association of Independent Financial Advisers (Aifa), says: “Some of our members are frustrated by the contact centres and we are in discussions with the FSA, which is looking for improvements.”
Goddard adds the FSA welcomes feedback and has a “genuine interest” in improving its contact centres.
She points out service is a very important part of any organisation and Aifa is pleased the FSA has set service standards and is generally meeting them.
But, the FSA also needs to improve the way it deals with complaints made against it, as two out of the four standards were only “nearly met” in this area: acknowledging a complaint and sending a leaflet explaining how the complaint scheme works; and completing an investigation in four weeks and writing to the complainant with results of the complaint or a reasonable timescale to deal with the complaint.
David Kenmir, FSA managing director of regulatory services, admits the FSA missed some of its targets but says it is sometimes necessary to spend longer on a transaction to make the right regulatory decision.
Further, the FSA points out the results cover the first full six-month reporting period since it became responsible for mortgage and general insurance regulation. As a result, the FSA says transaction volumes in many of its core processes were extremely high because of the introduction of integrated regulatory reporting for many thousands of small firms.
Kenmir says the FSA’s performance has improved significantly over the last six months but there is room for improvement in some areas.
He adds: “We are committed to improving our business capability and effectiveness as outlined in our Business Plan and endeavour to provide an ever-faster turnaround time to firms, consumers and other stakeholders.”
The Performance Account is the FSA’s third report on its service performance, which covers the FSA’s authorisation process, regulatory decisions, complaints handling, listing and notifications procedure, and communications. The FSA says it is committed to publishing reports every six months.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Emily Perryman on 020 7968 4554 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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