Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated firms are advised to take note of the timeline for regulatory changes to avoid any legal breaches.
The commencement date of the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015 (the Regulations) was changed to 1st October 2015.
However, this does not apply to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated firms who come under the Financial Ombudsman Service's (FOS) jurisdiction and will therefore need to comply with the new requirements from the 9th July 2015.
The 1st October 2015 deadline was aimed at other sectors which are still in the process of setting up ADR schemes for the first time.
A brief overview of the changes that FCA regulated firms need to adopt) are listed below.
Website and contractual information
The FOS website address (www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk) must be displayed:
- on the firm's own website. We would also recommend including an explanation of the customer's ability to complain in relation to the activities regulated by the FCA where firms do not already include one; and
- within the terms and conditions of a sale contract or contract for services between the firm and the consumer where that contract falls under FOS jurisdiction. For example, the terms of any regulated credit or hire agreement.
FOS have new powers:
- to consider complaints where the firm has not itself investigated the complaint, but only if both the firm and the consumer consent; and
- in some cases, to consider a complaint if the complainant refers it to FOS outside the usual 6 month time limit where, the firm has not objected.
Firms are now required to display the FOS website address in its final written responses and inform the complainant, using set wording provided within the FCA handbook, whether it consents to FOS considering a complaint that is referred outside of the specified time limits.
The detailed requirements are contained in the Dispute Resolution: Complaints (DISP) section of the FCA Handbook (http://fshandbook.info/FS/html/FCA/DISP).
If your business is FCA regulated and you are unsure whether it is meeting the requirements or you have any questions related to these changes, please do not hesitate to get in contact.
This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.