Share App Limited (“Share App”, “we”, “us” or the “Firm”) takes complaint handling very seriously.
Principle 6 of the FCA’s Principles for Business stipulates that “A firm must pay regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly”. Many of the FCA’s rules on complaints apply to “eligible complainants”. An eligible complainant must be a person that is:
- a consumer;
- a micro-enterprise;
- a charity which has an annual income of less than £1 million (at the time the complainant refers the complaint to the respondent); or
- a trustee of a trust which has a net asset value of less than £1 million (at the time the complainant refers the complainant to the respondent).
Given that the definition of a ‘consumer’ includes “any natural person acting for purposes outside their trade, business or profession”, a high net worth individual, regardless of whether or not they are a professional client, could be an eligible complainant.
Nature of the Complaint
The FCA defines a complaint as:
“Any oral or written expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, from, or on behalf of, a person about the provision of, or failure to provide, a financial service or a refresh determination, which alleges that the complainant has suffered (or may suffer) financial loss, material distress or material inconvenience”.
Employees must be able to identify complaints and potential complaints and distinguish them from inquiries and non-complaint communications based on this definition.
It is the client’s allegation, not the validity of the allegation that determines whether a communication constitutes a complaint. Similarly, whether the alleged conduct was intentional or inadvertent is not a factor in determining whether the allegation constitutes a complaint. It is also acknowledged that not all client expressions of dissatisfaction will constitute a complaint.
It may be difficult to distinguish between an inquiry and a complaint. Employees must consult with their supervisor and/or the Compliance Officer if they are not certain whether a communication constitutes a complaint.
We allow complaints to be made by any reasonable means and to be made free of charge. This may include by letter, email, telephone or in person. If we receive a verbal complaint, the employee receiving the complaint should make a note of the substance of the complaint as soon as possible.
The Firm will acknowledge complaints within 24 hours and keep the complainant informed of the progress of the complaint. This acknowledgement will be provided in a clear, comprehensible and easily accessible way.
The Firm will:
- send the complainant a prompt written acknowledgement providing early reassurance that it has received the complaint and is dealing with it; and
- ensure the complainant is kept informed thereafter of the progress of the measures being taken for the complaint’s resolution.
When assessing a MiFID investment firm’s response to a MiFID complaint, the FCA may have regard to a number of factors, including the quality of response, as against the above rules, as well as the speed with which it was made.
Investigating the Specific Complaint
Shares will investigate the complaint competently, diligently and impartially. Once a complaint has been received the following will take place:
- Investigate the complaint competently, diligently and impartially, obtaining additional information as necessary;
- assess fairly, consistently and promptly;
- the subject matter of the complaint;
- whether the complaint should be upheld;
- what remedial action or redress (or both) may be appropriate; and
- if appropriate, whether it has reasonable grounds to be satisfied that another respondent may be solely or jointly responsible for the matter alleged in the complaint; and
- comply promptly with any offer of remedial action or redress accepted by the complainant.
Factors that may be relevant in the assessment of a complaint include:
- all the evidence available and the particular circumstances of the complaint;
- similarities with other complaints received by the respondent;
- relevant guidance published by the FCA or other relevant regulators and bodies.
The criteria that may be considered when determining whether a complaint should be upheld include:
- whether Shares have breached a rule set out by the FCA
- whether there has been an administrative error
- whether Shares have received similar complaints from other complainants, perhaps indicating a systems or processes failure on their part; and
- any relevant FCA guidance.
Shares will identify and remedy any recurring or systemic problems and therefore minimise the risk of compliance failure, for example, by:
- analysing the causes of individual complaints so as to identify root causes common to types of complaints;
- considering whether such root causes may also affect other processes or products, including those not directly complained of; and
- correcting, where reasonable to do so, such root causes.
Where Shares identify recurring or systemic problems, they will consider whether other customers may have suffered detriment from, or been potentially disadvantaged by, such problems but who have not complained. If so, Shares will take appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure that those customers are given appropriate redress or a proper opportunity to obtain it.
Shares will keep the complainant informed of the progress of the measures taken to resolve their complaint.
Once the individual within Shares investigating the complaint has fully considered the subject matter of the complaint and whether the complaint should be upheld, they will write to the complainant. This must be in a way that is fair, clear and not misleading and includes the following:
- Provide an assessment of the complaint, whether or not Shares accept the complaint, and where appropriate make an offer for redress or remedial action;
- offer redress or remedial action without accepting the complaint; or
- reject the complaint, providing reasons for doing so.
Shares will act promptly if a complainant accepts any offer of redress or remedial action that has been made. If Shares has reasonable grounds to be satisfied that another respondent may be solely or jointly responsible for the matter alleged in a complaint, they may forward the complaint, or the relevant part of it, in writing to that other respondent, provided they:
- do so promptly;
- inform the complainant promptly in a final response of why the complainant has been forwarded to the other respondent, and of the other respondent’s contact details; and
- where jointly responsible for the fault alleged in the complaint, we comply with our own obligations in respect of that part of the complaint we have not forwarded.
The Firm will send the complainant a prompt written acknowledgement providing early reassurance that the complaint has been received and is being dealt with. This will happen within 24 hours of receiving the complaint.
The Firm shall, by the end of 15 days after its receipt of the complaint, send:
- A 'final response', being a written response from the Firm which:
a. accepts the complaint and, where appropriate, offers redress or remedial action; or
b. offers redress or remedial action without accepting the complaint; or
c. rejects the complaint and gives reasons for doing so; and which:
- encloses a copy of the Financial Ombudsman or KiFID Service's or standard explanatory leaflet;
- the website address of the Financial Ombudsman Service or KiFID;
- informs the complainant that if he remains dissatisfied with The Firm’s response, he may now refer his complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service or KiFID; and
- the Firm indicates whether or not the it consents to waive the relevant time limits;
- or a written response which:
a. explains why the Firm is not in a position to make a final response and indicates when it expects to
b. be able to provide one;
c. informs the complainant that he/she may now refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service or KiFID;
d. indicates whether or not the Firm consents to waive the relevant time limits, if it becomes apparent that the complaint has been made or is referred outside those time limits;
e. encloses a copy of the Financial Ombudsman Service or KiFID standard explanatory leaflet; and
f. provides the website address of the Financial Ombudsman Service or KiFID.
In exceptional circumstances, where the Firm is unable to issue a final response within the 15 days of receipt, the Firm has up to a maximum of 35 days, from the date of receipt, to issue a final response. In these instances, the Firm must issue a holding response including, at least:
- The reasons for the delays in resolving the complaint;
- A deadline in which the Firm will aim to issue the final response. This must be no later than 35 business days from the date of receipt.
A complaint will generally be seen to have been finalised when a written response from the firm is provided to the complainant, which:
- accepts the complaint, and, where appropriate, offers redress; or
- offers redress without accepting the complaint; or
- rejects the complaint and gives reasons for doing so;
and which informs the complainant that, if they remain dissatisfied with the firm's response, may now refer their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service or KiFID and must do so within six months
We may regard a complaint as closed in the following circumstances:
- once we have sent a final response to the complainant;
- where the complainant has indicated in writing their acceptance of an earlier response that we have sent to them.
We are required to keep a record of each complaint received and the measures taken for its resolution and retain that record for at least 5 years from the date that the complaint was received.
The Firm will submit reports of reportable complaints to the FCA on a semi-annual basis and to the board of the Firm on a regular basis.
The Financial Ombudsman Service
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is a free and easy-to-use service that settles complaints between consumers and businesses that provide financial services. The FOS looks to resolve disputes impartially and fairly with its decisions being binding. The FOS is a free service and complaints can be made at no cost to the complainant.
The FOS will likely not consider a complaint until the Firm has had a chance to address the complaint. Consequently, we recommend that you do not raise any complaint with the FOS until the Firm has issued you with a final response, or 35 business days have passed since you made the complaint (whichever is sooner).
FOS contact details:
Phone number: 0800 023 4567
Kifid is the Dutch Institute for Financial Disputes. It offers easy access and expert advice to consumers, small businesses and self-employed persons without employees who have a complaint against a financial services provider.
They can be approached for help if there is a complaint about a financial product or a financial service.
Kifid helps to solve problems between consumers, their bank, insurer, intermediary or other financial services provider. The support they offer takes the form of mediation or a decision by our Arbitration Commission which is legally binding (in most cases). Kifid helps consumers and entrepreneurs find solutions without having to go through the civil courts.
Phone number : +31 70 333 8 999