A regulated firm has been denied a refund of a portion of FSCS levies it had previously paid despite discovering it should have been exempt.
The company has paid more than £1,500 in regulatory fees, which includes FSCS levies, to the FSA since it gained authorisation in 2002. It also paid £1,130 in an FSCS interim levy for 2008/9.
But the unnamed firm discovered it was not liable for the investment intermediation element of the FSCS levy as it did not carry out those activities.
It complained to the FSA but it ruled it was unable to refund previous payments and pointed out the company had not applied for exemption until 2010.
Last month, the complaints commissioner, to whom the complaint had been referred, agreed with the FSA, arguing it is firms' responsibility to be aware of the FSA's rules and pointing out it could have completed an exemption form at any time.
The complaint appears to centre on the £1,130 interim levy in March 2009 relating to the period April 2008 to March the following year.
The FSCS applies interim levies when compensation costs following the failure of businesses exceed its estimates at the beginning of the 12-month period.
In March last year, the firm applied for, and was granted, an exemption to the investment intermediation element of the levy, but it will not be granted a refund of previous payments.
The complaints commissioner writes: "You feel you have been incorrectly treated by the FSA as despite it, in effect, confirming that you were exempt from FSCS levies from the date of your authorisation, it will not refund the levies you have previously paid.
"Although I can understand your views on this, ultimately, as the FSA has explained, the availability of an exemption from an investment intermediation levy was explained in the FSA's COMP and FEES sourcebooks and if you felt that you were exempt you were free to apply for the exemption".
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