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Staff who handle complaints for IFAs and providers will soon be able to take a new complaint handling exam developed by the Institute of Financial Services.

The qualification is a joint initiative between the IFS school of finance and outsourcing consultancy Huntswood which specialises in complaint handling.

The final syllabus is currently under wraps but provisional work suggests that the exam will include recent major issues in complaint handling, customer segmentation and possible causes of complaints, the regulatory and legislative environment for complaint handling and applying appropriate complaint-handling solutions within a business.

It will also look at how complaint handling fits with the FSA’s treating customers fairly initiative.

IFS school of finance head of faculty financial regulation and corporate & academic relationship management Mark Roberts says: “As the complaint-handling process comes under greater scrutiny, we felt it was important to provide suitable education for those working in this area.

“The new qualification will be ideal for those working in the corporate environment as well as those in smaller firms who are looking to tighten up their procedures.”

Technology & Technical consultant Kim North says some of complaint handling should sit within a wider exam although she believes most IFAs are up to speed on the subject, particularly because of years of the threat of fines from the FSA.

She says: “Even with Aviva’s redundancies, there are probably 250,000 back-office staff in life and pension companies that need to be tested to handle complaints properly.”

The IFS website is www. ifslearning.com.

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