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SimplyBiz altered Arch cru letters without FCA permission

Support service firm says letters altered ‘in good faith’.

Support services firm SimplyBiz amended FCA template letters to Arch cru clients without the regulator’s permission.

The FCA launched its Arch cru consumer redress scheme in April, which required all firms which advised on the funds to write to affected clients inviting them to opt into the scheme using a template letter it supplied.

The original letters asked consumers to respond by ticking a ‘yes’ box if they wanted their case to be reviewed.

SimplyBiz approached the regulator informally and, thinking it had permission to do so, amended the letter to include another tick box option for those wanting to say ‘no’ to inclusion in the scheme.

SimplyBiz made the letter available on its website for the firms it provides support services for to use. Money Marketing understands two firms used the amended letter.

SimplyBiz managing director Matt Timmins says: “In good faith and so that those firms involved in the redress correspondence could achieve the best possible response rates from consumers, we added a tick box to leave the consumer in no doubt that a response was required.”

An FCA spokesman says: “Our rules contain clear instructions on consumer communications and include template letters that firms are required to use.

“The opt-in letters do not include a tick box for consumers to indicate they do not want to be part of the redress scheme, nor did we give any firm permission to include such a box.”

Money Marketing understands no regulatory action is expected to be taken against SimplyBiz on the matter.

Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey says: “What SimplyBiz did sounds sensible, but the FCA has a very prescriptive view of how things should be done.”

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