FCA consults on SM&CR for CMCs

Although a handful of claims management directors have been disqualified as a result of compliance failings at their firms, the current Ministry of Justice regulatory regime does not allow for enforcement action to be taken against directors and senior management of claims management companies (CMCs). It is possible for the company itself to be fined, or banned from undertaking claims management activity, but there have been concerns expressed that some directors are simply starting new companies if their CMC gets banned.

That will all change once the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) takes over as claims management regulator on April 1 2019. The FCA has made it clear from the outset that CMC management and staff will be included in its Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SM&CR) – a regime that holds directors and senior managers responsible for compliance failings within their areas of responsibility, and allows the FCA to fine or ban them in such instances.

However, SM&CR will only come into force in December 2019, i.e. eight months after the regulatory switchover.

The FCA has now issued a consultation paper setting out its plans to extend the SM&CR to CMCs. The regulator says it wants to change a number of things within the claims management sector:

  • Misconduct which is harming customers – this poor conduct includes harassment and aggressive sales tactics
  • Further customer detriment caused by poor service and delays
  • CMCs with poor governance arrangements whose staff do not understand the regulatory regime to which they are subject
  • The issue of individuals starting up new CMCs, as described above

The SM&CR has three principal elements:

  • The Senior Managers Regime
  • The Certification Regime
  • The Conduct Rules

Under the Senior Managers Regime, every CMC (except for sole traders) will need to have at least one person designated as a Senior Manager. Senior Managers must be approved by the FCA as being ‘fit and proper’ before they commence their role. Class 1 CMCs – those with annual turnover of £1 million or above – will also need to appoint an additional Senior Manager to the Compliance Oversight Function.

All Senior Manager ‘fit and proper’ applications to the FCA will need to include a Statement of Responsibilities. This document should clearly sets out the Senior Manager’s role and what they are responsible for.

Once approved by the FCA initially, it will then be up to the authorised CMC to carry out an annual assessment to confirm that the Senior Manager remains fit and proper to carry out their role.

The Certification Regime applies to any employee whose role might involve a risk of significant harm to the firm or any of its customers. Examples might include anyone with management and supervisory responsibilities, or the individual responsible for safeguarding client money. These individuals will not need to be authorised by the FCA, but the CMC must carry out their own ‘fit and proper’ assessment of these individuals when they are recruited, and on an annual basis thereafter.

The consultation proposals make it clear that a ‘fit and proper’ assessment should include:

  • An assessment of the individual’s: honesty, integrity and reputation; competence and capability; and financial soundness
  • Regulatory references from previous employers
  • For Senior Managers, a criminal record check

The Conduct Rules will apply to every employee of a CMC. These require everyone within the company to:

  • Act with integrity
  • Act with due care, skill and diligence
  • Be open and cooperative with regulators
  • Pay due regard to customer interests and treat them fairly
  • Observe proper standards of market conduct

Additional Conduct Rules for Senior Managers will require them to:

  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that the business of the firm for which they are responsible is controlled effectively
  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that the business of the firm for which they are responsible complies with the relevant requirements and standards of the regulatory system
  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that any delegation of their responsibilities is to an appropriate person and that they oversee the discharge of the delegated responsibility effectively
  • Disclose appropriately any information of which the FCA, or Prudential Regulation Authority, would reasonably expect notice

Authorised firms should notify the FCA whenever they take disciplinary action against an individual for a breach of the Conduct Rules.

The FCA invites responses to the consultation, which closes on December 6 2018.


The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


New re-evaluation exams for financial advisers launched

All financial advisers need a suitable Level 4 Diploma qualification if they are to advise on investments or pensions. However, simply passing the examination as a one-off and then using it as their ‘passport’ to give advice for the remainder of their career is not sufficient, and all financial advisers are also required to keep their knowledge up to date. It is also the responsibility of the firms they work for to ensure that advisers remain competent.

With this in mind, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that it has collaborated with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), and that the two bodies have jointly devised what is described as ‘a re-assessment test of the level 4 Diploma in Financial Planning’. This test will be known as the ‘Regulated Retail Investment Adviser Re-Evaluation’, and it will be launched on October 1 2018.

The FCA’s statement on this subject says:

“We believe that advisers having a good level of knowledge is the foundation to giving sound financial advice. This is particularly the case with the more technical aspects of financial advice.

“The level 4 Diploma became the standard when the Retail Distribution Review came into force at the start of 2013. Advisers complete a minimum of 35 hours continuous professional development each year with the aim of maintaining their knowledge. Not all firms test their advisers’ knowledge yearly as part of their Statement of Professional Standing, with many advisers never retesting.

“The objective of the re-evaluation is to identify areas of strength and weakness in technical knowledge and its application that underpins suitable financial advice.”

The CII’s test comprises 100 questions – 65 standard format and 35 multiple response questions – covering all areas of the CII’s Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning qualification.

Many advisers did of course obtain their Diploma from The London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF) (formerly the Institute of Financial Services), rather than from the CII. The LIBF has also announced that it is developing its own re-evaulation test and emphasises that the FCA has not entered into an exclusive agreement with the CII in this respect, so it is expected that the FCA will still recognise the LIBF’s re-evaluation test.

It should most certainly be noted that taking a re-evaluation examination is not a substitute for carrying out Continuing Professional Development (CPD). All advisers must still complete a minimum of 35 hours CPD per year, of which at least 21 hours must be ‘structured’ CPD. Examples of structured CPD activities include: courses, seminars, lectures, conferences, workshops, web-based seminars or e-learning. It is the responsibility of firms to ensure that their advisers carry out sufficient CPD, and that records are kept of this activity.

At present, use of the re-evaluation examination remains voluntary – the over-riding requirement is that firms must ensure their advisers can demonstrate continuing competence, by whatever means. However, the FCA adds that it may use the re-evaulation as a supervisory tool if it believes it is appropriate to ask specific firms to re-test specific advisers.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


ICO deputy speaks on cybersecurity

One of the key themes of James Dipple-Johnstone’s September 2018 speech to the CBI Cyber Security Business Insight Conference was how much had changed in the data protection world in the period since last year’s conference.

The first point made by the Deputy Commissioner (Operations) at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) was that data security and data privacy cannot be treated in isolation. Mr Dipple commented:

“Data security and data privacy have always been linked. Privacy depends on security. No obligation to provide privacy will be meaningful if the data to be protected are accessed or stolen by unauthorized third parties.”

Few in his audience would need to have been reminded that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the associated UK Data Protection Act 2018 are now law. He highlighted that the ICO has drawn up a Regulatory Action Plan, explaining how the UK data protection watchdog will use its new regulatory powers, and that the Plan should be approved by Parliament before the end of the year.

Turning directly to the subject of cybersecurity, Mr Dipple remarked that there were four major things that the ICO would consider as being “appropriate security measures under the GDPR”. These are:

  • Managing your security risk
  • Protecting personal data against security attack
  • Detecting security events
  • Minimising the impact of breaches when they occur

When things go wrong, the ICO expects firms to engage with the authorities. The Deputy Commissioner highlighted the benefits of such an approach when he said:

“As our regulatory action policy explains, where you engage proactively to protect customers and the public the ICO will take that into account both in the type of regulatory response and also the scale of any enforcement action. This includes consideration of any mitigation where you have reported voluntarily to the [National Cyber Security Centre] and engaged their advice.”

The next section of his speech highlighted two key points: firstly, that directors and senior management need to take responsibility for data security within their firms, and secondly that the ICO does not always take formal enforcement action when things go wrong. Here, Mr Dipple said:

“As a regulator the ICO does not seek perfection even if to some it may feel like that. We seek evidence of senior management and board level insight and accountability. We seek evidence of systems that provide a robust level of protection and privacy. The small number of fines we issue always seem to get the headlines, but we close many thousands of incidents each year without financial penalty but with advice, guidance and reassurance. For every investigation which ends in a fine, we have many audits, advisory visits and guidance sessions. That is the real norm of the work we do.”

His next point was to dispel two myths: that GDPR requires every data breach to be reported, no matter how small; and that GDPR would lead to enormous fines for non-compliance becoming the norm.

Nevertheless, he did highlight deficiencies in the breach reporting of some firms. He asked his audience to note that the timescale for reporting a breach is 72 hours, and that this really does mean three days, and not “72 working hours”, as some organisations have interpreted the new requirement.

Mr Dipple highlighted that around 20% of reported breaches involved cyber incidents, and that almost half of these relate to phishing attacks.

In the last section of his speech, he mentioned issues such as:

  • Issues over firms not following their own documented procedures
  • Ensuring staff have regular refresher training on data issues
  • The importance of firms making sufficient investment in security

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


‘Smaller but trickier’ debts affecting UK consumers, says study 

In the ever-shifting consumer debt landscape, a national debt charity has revealed that many consumers are now struggling to pay off smaller debts than was the case around a decade ago.

Announcing the release of the ‘Decade in debt’ study, National Debtline said that their typical customer 10 years ago was a consumer seeking advice with credit cards, loans or overdraft debt, and that now it is more likely to be contacted regarding issues with debts on everyday household bills such as council tax, rent and energy arrears.

It adds that:

  • 50% of the callers to National Debtline report difficulties in repaying debts of £5,000 or less, whereas the equivalent figure in 2008 was just 22%
  • 48% of callers now report that their income is not sufficient to cover essential expenses, up from 27% in 2009. This prompted the charity to talk of an issue with ‘broken budgets’
  • 30% of callers have council tax arrears, 17% have rent arrears and another 17% are behind with their energy bills. These figures have typically doubled, or even tripled, in the last decade
  • It expects to receive more than 189,000 calls by the end of the year, which would be the highest for five years, even if it remains well below the peak of 305,000 calls received in 2010, in the aftermath of the financial crisis

In light of the findings, National Debtline is calling on the government and other authorities to take action. It has asked that:

  • A formal cross-government strategy to reduce problem debt is formulated
  • The government’s planned ‘Breathing Space’ scheme is sufficiently comprehensive to protect consumers with debts with utility companies, local authorities, the Department of Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs
  • The Financial Conduct Authority takes further action on persistent credit card debt and unauthorised overdrafts and introduces a cost cap on forms of high-cost credit other than payday loans

Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that operates National Debtline, said:

“We need to change how we think about problem debt in the UK.

“Ten years ago a typical caller to National Debtline was struggling to pay credit cards and personal loans.  Today, callers are struggling with smaller but trickier debts, usually on everyday household bills – and often caused by ‘broken budgets’, where the money coming in is simply not enough to cover their essential spending.

“The government, regulators, creditors and the advice sector need to work together to tackle these new realities.  There is some good news with the creation of the new Single Financial Guidance Body, plans for a statutory Breathing Space scheme and a renewed focus from creditors on supporting people in vulnerable circumstances.

“However, with debt problems still changing and growing, there is much more to do – including a new formal cross-government strategy to reduce problem debt, which brings together different strands of work into a single, coherent approach.”

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


FCA chief and chair address Public Meeting

Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), told his organisation’s 2018 Annual Public Meeting that much of the regulator’s focus in recent times has switched to monitoring of operational risks, such as resilience, technological change and financial crime.

According to the definition used by the FCA, operational resilience encompasses both cyber-risk and issues relating to the growing complexity of systems used by firms. Cybersecurity should be a high priority area for all authorised firms, large and small, across all business sectors – the threats in this area are increasing all the time and the consequences of falling victim to an attack can be severe. There have also been a number of high-profile IT glitches which have sometimes led to significant disruption for customers.

Mr Bailey also said that data issues were “the fastest rising risk on our landscape.” This could refer both to whether firms process data in accordance with new legislation, and whether they take appropriate measures to prevent data loss.

However, he did also highlight that a great deal of time has been spent monitoring the conduct of consumer credit firms, especially those offering high cost credit. Mr Bailey described this as “the largest single task the FCA has undertaken in its history.”

Ushering in what he hopes will be a new era of personal accountability across the industry, he commented on the fact that it was ten years since the financial crisis, and that the Senior Managers & Certification Regime will soon allow the FCA to hold key individuals responsible for the failings within their firms. Here the FCA chief commented:

“Ten years on from the crisis, there is no question that we saw behaviour in the past which was well below what we should expect. The regulatory regime did not create the correct incentives – emphasising individual culpability rather than the responsibility of senior people for the firm’s activities as a whole. A defence that the individual did not personally make a bad loan or mis-sell a product is not good enough. We are now implementing the new Senior Managers and Certification Regime across our landscape, extending it out from banks. This is a very important change.”

FCA chairman Charles Randell also addressed the meeting. In his speech, he commented that protection of vulnerable customers was one of the key priorities in the regulator’s Mission document. Firms must therefore ensure they have robust procedures in place for identifying vulnerable customers, and for ensuring they are treated fairly.

Like Mr Bailey, Mr Randell also addressed the issue of technological change. He said that in some ways this had been “enormously positive” for financial services, in that it could help firms manage money laundering risks, reduce market entry costs, increase product differentiation and boost competition across the market.

Conversely however, technology has also created new risks, exposing more people to issues such as online fraud and data misuse. Furthermore, technological advances can also leave some consumers feeling left behind, especially those who may be classed as vulnerable.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


Claims management quarterly bulletin confirms regulator has right to information from CMCs

The latest quarterly compliance bulletin from the Claims Management Regulator at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) emphasises that claims management companies (CMCs) cannot use data protection concerns as an excuse for refusing to provide the Regulator with information it has requested.

It has emerged that some CMCs were suggesting that providing information to the MoJ, information which may have contained clients’ personal data, would be in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation. However, the MoJ now says it has liaised with the Information Commissioner’s Office, who have confirmed that this is not the case. In summary therefore, CMCs are expected to fully co-operate with the Regulator’s supervision programme, and to supply them with any information they request.

One of the legal bases for processing of data by companies is “processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject”, and provision of information to regulators falls into this category.

The bulletin also warns CMCs that they cannot adopt a policy of automatically referring to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) all complaints that are rejected by a financial institution. This is said to be a particularly big issue in the payment protection insurance claims arena. The MoJ says it could take enforcement action against companies found to be adopting this practice.

Instead, CMCs are asked to examine the reasons the financial firm gives for rejecting a complaint. CMCs should then consider the reasons given, and their past experience of FOS judgements on similar cases and use this information to decide whether to refer the matter to the FOS. The bulletin also says that a complaint should not be referred to the FOS without the client being advised as to their prospects of success.

Claims companies are also reminded that they must now use the updated FOS complaints form in all cases, and that the old version of the form will no longer be accepted by the Service.

Payday loans is one area in which more CMCs have become active in recent months. The MoJ is calling on CMCs to take time to understand their client’s circumstances at the time of borrowing, before referring the complaint to the lender.

The bulletin also suggests CMCs should read a number of recently issued documents, including:

  • The 2017/18 Claims Management Regulation Annual Report
  • The general information published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regarding how it will regulate CMCs from April 1 2019
  • The FCA consultation paper on the fees it proposes to charge to CMCs
  • The Treasury’s response to the consultation on secondary legislation relating to the switch of claims regulation to the FCA
  • The MoJ’s report on the enforcement action it took between April and June 2018
  • The information published by the Legal Ombudsman about training courses

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


Pension dashboard will go ahead says government

It now seems that the long-awaited pensions dashboard will be implemented, and according to some reports this comes after the personal intervention of the Prime Minister.

It had been widely reported earlier in the year that the project was set to be scrapped, after it emerged that the Cabinet minister responsible for pensions – Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey MP – did not believe that it was right for government to have a role in the delivery of the project.

One of the major champions of the dashboard project was Guy Opperman MP, who remains a minister at the Department of Work and Pensions, reporting to Ms McVey. In early September 2018 it was Mr Opperman who confirmed that the dashboard will proceed when he said in a statement to Parliament:

“The work that the Department for Work and Pensions has done in assessing feasibility for a pensions dashboard has made it clear that we should not underestimate the size or complexity of the challenge.

“An industry-led dashboard, facilitated by government, will harness the best of industry innovation.”

Ms McVey commented:

“The pensions landscape is transforming and the dashboard offers a great opportunity to give people straightforward access to their pension information in a clear and simple format – bringing together an individual’s savings in a single place online.

“It’s clear there is broad support for the concept of a dashboard and its potential to empower those putting money away for their futures.

“By taking a leading role, and harnessing their knowledge, industry can develop a dashboard that works for pensions holders – and government will help facilitate this.”

The Government is still conducting a feasibility study into whether it is realistic to force pension providers to co-operate with the dashboard project. Some of the largest pension providers – Aviva, Aon, HSBC, LV=, NEST, Now: Pensions, The People’s Pension, Royal London, Standard Life, Zurich and Willis Towers Watson – have already agreed to participate.

The initiative is designed to allow consumers to view details of all of their retirement savings in one place, and research has suggested that some people have around a dozen different pension pots by the time they retire, simply because of the number of different companies they have worked for. Some consumers have reported being unaware they had some of these ‘pots’ simply because their retirement savings had become so complex.

The Government also believes that highlighting the existence of all of these pension pots could prompt more people to seek guidance and/or professional financial advice.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


Adviser trade body questions need for contingent charging ban

Trade association the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (Pimfa) has made it clear that it does not support Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposals to ban contingent charging for pension transfers.

Contingent charging is where a firm only receives a fee from the client if they recommend a particular course of action. For example, a firm might charge the client a percentage of the amount being transferred between different pension arrangements. Such a charging system would mean that the firm would receive nothing if it did not recommend that the transfer took place, and supporters of a ban have highlighted that this could give the adviser an undue incentive to recommend a transfer, regardless of whether it was actually in the client’s best interests. The FCA is expected to confirm later in the autumn whether it will be pressing ahead with a ban on advisory firms imposing this type of fee.

In an interview with trade magazine FTAdviser, Pimfa’s senior policy adviser Simon Harrington cited two main reasons why his organisation opposed the ban. Firstly, he said he did not believe that the Association’s members would recommend a transfer that was not in the client’s interests simply to receive a fee. Secondly, he suggested that the ban could hinder the ongoing efforts to widen access to financial advice. The problem he anticipates here is that consumers will be put off seeking advice on their pension because they do not have the available cash to pay an upfront fee.

Mr Harrington suggested there was “a large demographic of people who do not access financial advice because they do not believe they are wealthy enough to access it.” He went on to say that research had shown that one in five people with a pension pot of £150,000 or more did not believe that they were wealthy enough in this respect.

The FCA has been concerned about the quality of firms’ pension transfer advice for some time. In October 2017, the FCA published the final results of its supervisory work on pension transfer advice, and of the files reviewed during this study, in only 47% of cases could the advice be shown to be suitable, and in only 35% of cases were the products and funds recommended for the new scheme judged to be suitable.

The FCA introduced new rules for pension transfers in April of this year, and looks set to introduce further rules, of which contingent charging may just be one.

Firms offering pension transfer advice are therefore advised to keep a close eye on communications from the FCA on this subject.

In his interview, Mr Harrington also called for greater awareness of the £500 advice allowance that is available to consumers seeking advice on their pension and who need to pay their adviser’s fee and expressed his concern at the high numbers of retirees who were accepting the drawdown offer from their own pension provider.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


FCA launches ‘Preparing your firm for Brexit’ webpage

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has called for all authorised firms to consider whether they need to make preparations for the UK’s forthcoming exit from the European Union.

The firms that are most likely to be affected by Brexit are those that currently have business operations in the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA, also known as the ‘single market’, comprises the EU member states plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and current UK Government policy (and that of the Labour opposition) is not to seek EEA membership once the country has left the EU.

However, the FCA’s new ‘preparing your firm for Brexit’ webpage lists a range of scenarios that could all mean Brexit would have an impact on a firm’s business activities. These include:

  • The firm provides regulated products or services to customers resident in the EEA
  • The firm has customers based in the EEA, including those who were previously UK resident but may now have moved abroad
  • The firm markets regulated products or services within the EEA. This would include any firm whose website might in any way be targeted at EEA residents
  • The firm has service providers who are based in the EEA
  • The firm transfers personal data between the UK and the EEA or vice versa
  • The firm is part of a wider corporate group that is based in the EEA
  • The firm receives funding from an entity based in the EEA
  • The firm outsource or delegates tasks to an EEA firm, or vice versa
  • The firm is party to legal contracts which make reference to EU law

Perhaps the best known feature of the existing EU financial regulatory system is the ‘passporting’ scheme. This scheme allows any firm authorised in a European Economic Area (EEA) member state to trade across the EEA without the need to obtain separate authorisation from the national regulator in each state. Instead they can trade in the other member states simply by virtue of holding a ‘passport’ from their own national regulator. The FCA however says that:


“After Brexit, and any implementation period, passporting in its current form will end for the financial firms currently using it in the UK.”


This appears to mean that in the long term, firms will require authorisation from the national regulator of every country in which they do business.


A Temporary Permissions Regime will be put in place, whereby European firms that currently operate in the UK using the ‘passporting’ system can continue to do so for a limited time after Brexit, before needing to apply for full FCA authorisation. There is currently no reciprocal agreement for UK firms who operate in the EEA. It is to be hoped the situation can be resolved, but at present it is the case that any UK firm that operates in European countries via the passporting system will lose their authorisation to do so on Brexit day (March 29).


The FCA Brexit webpage also acknowledges that ‘no deal’ remains a possibility, and that the UK may yet exit the EU without a trade agreement and without agreement for any sort of transition period.


In summary the FCA says firms should:

  • Work out what changes they might have to make to their business
  • Consider whether they need additional regulatory permissions
  • Consider whether they should provide information to customers who may be affected by Brexit-related changes, such as where changes in contractual terms might affect them, remembering that this information needs to be provided “in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading”

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article


Which? highlights extent of unclaimed PPI for deceased relatives

Research by consumer organisation Which? has shown that 90% of UK consumers are unaware that it is possible to make a payment protection insurance (PPI) claim on behalf of a deceased relative.

The law in fact allows anyone named as a personal representative in the policyholder’s will to make a claim on their death. Where there is no will, a claim is still possible following a grant of letters of administration, although it may be necessary to provide additional evidence of identity, such as a marriage certificate (if the claimant is the spouse of the deceased) or a birth certificate (if other relatives are bringing the complaint).

Gareth Shaw, Which? money expert, said he had “heard from people who have successfully claimed in this way.”

The industry has paid out some £31.9 billion in PPI compensation to date, but with one year to go to the deadline, could the fact that this claiming tactic has been made public by several major newspapers prompt a further spike in complaints? The industry has reportedly set aside a total of £46 billion to cover both the sums paid out to date, and the amounts of compensation it expects to pay prior to the August 2019 cut-off.

As the PPI mis-selling and compensation saga enters its final 12 months, Which? has also named and shamed two major high street banking groups, and one large building society, describing them as “the most difficult banks and building societies to deal with when making a PPI claim”. The organisation adds that the three firms are “demanding pages of additional information and insisting on unrealistic deadlines.”

Which? goes on to describe how the high street giants are engaging in practices such as sending out 12-page questionnaires and saying that the consumer has only 14 days to return it if they want their complaint to be investigated. On this subject, the press release also says:

“Which? is concerned the excessive red tape may put off some consumers from making a claim.”

Mr Shaw commented:

“Time is ticking, there is just one year left to make a PPI claim. It is frustrating some banks appear to be making it harder than it needs to be.”

For the record, just because a complainant fails to return a long questionnaire within 14 days, it does not mean that the bank or other firm is entitled to cancel the complaint. The firm is still expected to send a final response to the customer in these circumstances, and the complaint can still be referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article

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