FSA wants customer complaints data in public domain
by Gill Montia
Insurance companies and other UK financial institutions may be required to provide consumers with details of customer complaints.
Under new proposals from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) consumers could be given access to data on the number of complaints received by firms, the main products and services generating the complaints, and outcomes.
Firms receiving the largest number of complaints would be required to publish information on the number of complaints they have opened and closed; the percentage closed within eight weeks; and the percentage of complaints upheld.
Information will be broken down into five product areas: banking, home finance, general insurance and pure protection, life and pensions, and investments.
To allow comparison between standards, firms will be expected to provide contextual information, such as the number of complaints per 1,000 customer accounts.
The proposed new measures require bulletins to be prepared every six months, to be followed up by the the publication of results from the whole sector by the FSA.
The regulator’s director of retail policy and conduct risk, Dan Waters, says: “Transparency is an important regulatory tool. Publishing complaints data will mean that people can learn more about how firms handle complaints and the frequency with which they arise.”
He adds: “We also consider that publishing this information will incentivise firms to deal more effectively with complaints and help to raise industry standards in this important area.”
A consultation period on the proposals ends on 30th October.