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FSA reports improvements in endowment complaints handling

An FSA report into endowment complaints has found improvements in firm’s complaint handling procedures, but the regulator says there is no room for complacency.
Since July 2005 the FSA has been looking at how 52 firms, covering 90 per cent of the market, handle complaints. It had concerns over 22 firms and says 14 of them are taking remedial action to improve their processes.
The FSA says as a result of this work more than 100,000 complaints previously rejected have been or are being reviewed, with around 75 per cent being decided in the consumer’s favour and over £120 million in compensation paid in these cases.
It also says consumers are getting decisions made more quickly with the number of complaints taking more than eight weeks to resolve falling from 33,000 in September 2005 to 7,000 in September 2006.
The FSA says as a result of improvements the Financial Ombudsman Service is having to uphold fewer complaint in consumer’s favour.
FSA retail themes director Vernon Everitt says: “It is encouraging firms have improved the speed and quality of how they handle complaints. News of a potential shortfall is a major worry for consumers and firms owe it to them to deal with their complaints quickly and fairly.
We are keeping a close eye on this to make sure that firms continue to do just that. Firms must also look ahead and not focus solely on the here and now. They need to pay particular attention to helping people deal with shortfalls when policies mature.”

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