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Another firm appeals bill for late Gabriel return

Another firm has complained that the FCA was wrong to charge it a fee for filings its regulatory returns late.

Having missed the deadline to file its Gabriel return, the firm argued to the Complaints Commissioner that it should not have to pay the £250 administration fee because it did not receive a reminder by email or a letter to submit the data.

The FCA argued that the firm had been sent two reminders and had been provided with clear instructions about filing returns when the firm became authorised.

However, the firm said it never received the emails, and questioned why the FCA did not ask for read receipts and only communicated about returns to firms by email.

In a decision released today, the Complaints Commissioner has rejected the complaint. Commissioner Anthony Townsend writes: “Having studied the records, I have concluded that the FCA took reasonable steps to inform you about, and remind you of, your obligations. The late returns fee is designed to recover administrative costs from firms which do not follow the processes, so that firms which do comply are not subsidising those which do not.”

Townsend says that in discussions with the FCA, they have told him that undelivered emails are followed up with a letter.

The decision comes on the back of a similar one made last month, when a firm argued against its £250 late filing charge because the address reminders were sent too was monitored only by junior staff members, who might not “understand the significance of an email from the FCA or the importance of Gabriel.”

Another firm complained in October that a flood has caused it to provide Gabriel data late, but the firm did not provide details about how the flood had impacted its business.

The FCA has released a number of statements over the past year attempting to clarify to advisers how it uses the data they submit.

The regulator will soon build in a question on risky product sales to see if this could potentially be used to risk-rate the levies paid to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme by firms.

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Comments

There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I can understand, the firms in question annoyance, but every firm know, their reporting dates?

  2. Hogwash! Doesn’t this firm have a diary? They know exactly when their reporting date is. It doesn’t take an IT genius to set up a few XL spreadsheets to extract the necessary info for a return which can be easily submitted within 2 weeks of said date.

    If firms don’t have a diary (paper or Outlook) and can’t have decent management accounts one must wonder if they are even ‘Fit and Proper’.

    • Nicholas Pleasure 12th December 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Google Calendar is free. No excuse really.

      Now if they had argued that there is absolutely no point in completing a Gabriel return because the FCA appears never to look at the information submitted I would have a degree of sympathy…

      • Quite, but the FCA’s response to any such complaint would probably be: Yeah, well, but you’ve got to do it anyway. TVM.

        It might help if the GABRIEL system was vastly simplified and asked for RELEVANT data, such as: How many non-mainstream investments have you advised on/arranged in the past 5 years? And, if there are any, you are required to submit proof of relevant PII cover for such activities.

        Elsewhere we read that a truly horrendous 80% of all liabilities being taken on by the FSCS are in respect of (failed) UCIS. What measures does the FCA propose to reduce the quantum of those liabilities? None at all that I’ve seen. Instead, all it’s talking about is shuffling the deckchairs around in terms of who shall pay what share of the total FSCS levy bill, which is hopeless. UCIS providers, of course, pay no share of it, whilst providers of RCIS shouldn’t be required to pay any of it. Neither their products or activities are part of the problem.

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