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Sesame fined £330,000 for SCARPs failings

Sesame has been fined £330,000 for failing to treat its customers fairly when handling complaints concerning Structured Capital At Risk Products (SCARPs).

Problems with Sesame’s complaints handling were identified as part of the FSA’s thematic review of SCARPs during March and August 2004.

The FSA found Sesame incorrectly rejected complaints from approximately 350 customers between March 2003 and October 2004, the customers lost nearly £5.9m.
The complaints related to sales made by Sesame’s legacy networks.

The FSA says Sesame took prompt action to ensure all affected customers were compensated and engaged with external advisers to review its SCARPs complaint handling procedures and train staff. It says without this the fine would have been substantially higher.

FSA head of retail enforcement William Amos says: “Sesame has no excuse for complaints handling failures of this kind, not least because the FSA had already issued a number of publications concerning both SCARPs and complaints handling.

The failings we found highlight the need for firms to implement and maintain robust complaints handling procedures and to train staff adequately”.

Sesame chief executive Patrick Gale says: “Today’s announcement relates to past issues with our SCARPs’ complaint handling process that we very much regret. We have co-operated fully with the FSA and conducted a prompt review of all SCARPs complaints, which has led to all affected customers being compensated. Following the review, the FSA is satisfied that our current complaint handling procedures in relation to SCARPs are satisfactory. We are committed to ensuring the highest standards of supervision and compliance going forward.”

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