The Complaints Commissioner has criticised the FCA for its correspondence with a complainant and ordered it to pay redress.
The complaint related to the FCA failing to respond to a report sent to it by the complainant at the regulator’s request, about professional indemnity insurance.
According to the Complaints Commissioner decision, the complainant initially drew the FCA’s attention to what it considered to be unfair practice in the PII market in October 2016, and provided a report to that effect as requested by the regulator in January 2017.
After the report was referred to the specialist team, the complainant says they did not receive adequate responses from the FCA in relation to the report and also their submissions to a consultation that discussed PII, and began lodging a complaint in June 2017.
The complainant was contacted by the FCA in August 2017 with an apology, within which the report was categorised as having been taken as a response to the FCA’s consultation, despite the FCA not issuing individual responses to consultation.
The complainant lodged a formal complaint to the Complaints Commissioner in August 2017, which was acknowledged by the FCA the next day but a letter about that complaint was not sent to the complainant until October.
That letter asked for a response from the complainant but the complainant was away at the time.
The FCA granted an extension and the complainant directed the regulator back to the initial report, however the regulator cited difficulties tracing correspondence.
Complaints Commissioner Antony Townsend says the FCA’s response to the complaint filed against it “misses the point”.
Townsend says: “It is an example of the FCA’s tendency – on which I have had to comment before – of justifying the individual actions of its staff rather than placing itself in the shoes of the complainant and considering the cumulative effect of its actions.”
The decision to the complainant’s initial complaint was given two years after the report was provided, on 10 January 2018.
Townsend says: “The FCA handled your correspondence badly. The explanations you were given were inadequate, and it appears that information was not shared between teams.”
He adds: “If the position was that you would not be given a substantive response to the report which you had provided at the FCA’s request, you should have been told this at the outset. Your expectations were raised and then not met.”
Townsend recommeded the FCA pay the complainant £100 to acknowledge the distress and inconvenience suffered.
An FCA statement says it accepts the criticisms and recommendations against it.
The regulator says: “We will write to the complainant to apologise and offer an ex gratia payment of £100.”