Financial Services

Justice For Us All

“History shows that tax increases during a recession are a recipe for greater unemployment and economic loss.”

The PRA and FCA

Until 1st April 2013, all financial institutions in the UK were governed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), appointed by the Treasury. The Authority has now been abolished by the Financial Services Act of 2012, and two bodies now replace the FSA:

  • The Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA)
  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • (Which are both further regulated by the Bank of England).

    The PRA’s roles are to:

  • Provide stability and soundness of financial firms, and to improve the stability of the financial system as a whole.
  • Ensure that Insurers are providing their policy-holders with secure and adequate protection.
  • The FCA’s role is to:

  • Regulate standards of conduct in Financial Markets.
  • Supervise trades which govern Financial Markets.
  • Supervise firms which are not PRA regulated.
  • Taking on roles of the UK Listing Authority – making sure Financial Firms comply with the ‘listing rules’, for firms to adhere to governance and investor protection.
  • If you’ve been mis-treated by your financial provider, eg bank or insurance company

    It is firstly the best option to submit a complaint to the provider. Before you do this, ask yourself how have you been aggrieved, and what monetary amount would you accept as a means of compensation for rectification of the matter.

    Send your complaint to them via letter (it is best not to call); certain conversations can become ‘lost in translation’, and it is best to have hard-copies of documentation, which also helps if you need to take the matter to Court at a future date.

    It can take up to 8 weeks for the Complaints Team at the firm to deal with your complaint however; if within 2 weeks you do not receive a follow-up letter from them, then be prepared to send a further letter, enclosing the previous letter you sent.

    (If you do happen to have any conversations with the Financial Provider, then make sure you keep an account of dates, times, and the name of who you spoke to, including the details of the conversation).

    The Decision

    The Firm should provide you with a decision of whether they believe they are liable for your issue or not. If they do, they will normally abide by your request for compensation however, figures tend to be of a lower value than your initial request.

    If the figure is too low and you are not happy, write back to them and justify why you believe they should pay the original amount you requested. 9 times out of 10, they will increase the first amount, and ask whether you will accept the second.

    The Ombudsman

    If you are still not happy and believe your complaint has not been dealt with effectively, then you can contact the Financial Ombudsman. Be aware however, you will require what is called a ‘deadlock letter’, which is the Firm’s final decision on the matter. If the Firm did not send you a Final Decision Letter (deadlock letter), then you should write back to them and request whether their decision is final, and if so, ask them to provide you with a Final Decision Letter.

    Sometimes you may find that they will increase the amount of compensation, or they may just send you the letter, if they believe you are not be entitled to any further amount.

    You will then need to submit a Claim to the Financial Ombudsman, who will request many other pieces of information from you, such as the Final Decision Letter and may ask for for credit contracts etc, although they are able to obtain these also from the Financial Firm in question. (Remember, the more evidence you have of the grievance, the better it is for your overall Claim).

    It is then up to the Financial Ombudsman to access the Claim (which could take many months), and to return a ‘Decision’ to you.

    It is worth acknowledging that if you are requesting excess amounts of compensation from the firm which the Ombudsman believes is unjustified, then the Ombudsman can award what ‘they’ believe is justifiable in the circumstances. (This amount may be less than what the Firm offered you in the first instance, and you cannot then request them to pay this instead.)

    If you are not happy with how the Ombudsman has conducted the case, you can Appeal to the Independent Assessor.

    The Independent Assessor

    The Independent Assessor is not able to reverse an Ombudsman’s Decision. This service is funded by the Financial Ombudsman Board, so it will not be yourself who needs to fund this avenue.

    The Independent Assessor can award compensation to people whose cases it is believed, have not been handled correctly by the Ombudsman however; the awards are normally limited to no more than £1,000, and on average, are £267.

    “Financial freedom is available to those who learn about it and work for it.”