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FCA defends fine against firm for late Gabriel return

The Complaints Commissioner has dismissed a complaint from a firm which disputed paying a £250 fee for filing its Gabriel return late, claiming it was affected by a flood.

According to the Complaints Commissioner’s decision the FCA rejected the initial complaint because the return was filed late, the firm was sent several reminders, and no details were given about the flood that the firm said impacted its business before the filing deadline.

The FCA offered to consider further details of the flood if the firm supplied them.

The Complaints Commissioner said it wrote to the firm’s representative after the regulator rejected the complaint to get the firm’s reasons for disagreeing with the FCA’s decision, but it did not reply.

The Complaints Commissioner discovered that the firm first contacted the FCA more than six months after the first request to register on Gabriel and more than three weeks after the return deadline.

The decision says: “From the record, it seems clear that the FCA took all proper steps to inform your client’s firm about what it needed to do to complete the Gabriel return, including sending two reminders.”

According to the decision, the late returns fee is designed to cover the FCA’s costs in pursuing late returns.

The decision says: “In the circumstances I think it was reasonable for the FCA to charge your client – particularly since he has been given a further opportunity to send in details of the flood, which he says prevented him from completing his return.”

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Comments

There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Like many of us, I’m quick to criticise the FCA were there is regulatory mission creep or there is an apparent lack of understanding of our typical business model. But in this case its hard not to accept their decision. If there was indeed a flood and the complaints commissioner asked for evidence, surely a simple piece of evidence, photos, insurance claim could have been provided. Not bothering to respond makes it sound like my dog ate my homework.

  2. Just out of interest, has the FCA followed up to see whether there was a flood? If not, then surely that brings into question fitness and propriety. If they are willing to lie to the regulator about that, what else are they prepared to do?

    • Good point. All it takes is a quick s165 requirement for info. If they can’t produce the evidence, they’re stuffed on integrity grounds; if they don’t respond, they’re equally stuffed under principle 11 for not being co-operative…

  3. Nicholas Pleasure 19th October 2017 at 1:47 pm

    I can’t imagine they had a flood for the whole six weeks before the deadline. We all know when Gabriel is due; none of us likes doing it but, with good systems, it only takes a couple of hours.

    Do it as soon as the FCA reminder arrives. Don’t leave it to the last minute and then get stuck.

    What a waste of everyone’s time and money this compliant was. I’m sorry, but for once I’m with the FCA.

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