FSA will publish complaints

THE FINANCIAL Services Authority (FSA) is to name and shame financial services companies that provoke the most consumer complaints, bringing to an end its policy of being tight-lipped on its investigations.<br /><br />The proposals, which were partially outlined in chancellor Alistair Darling&rsquo;s white paper on financial regulation would see companies forced to publish their own complaints data once every six months.<br /><br />The FSA would then publish an annual report on complaints throughout the sector, including the volume received, the products involved and how quickly the grievances were resolved.<br /><br />Dan Waters, the FSA&rsquo;s director of retail policy and conduct risk, said: &ldquo;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.&rdquo;<br /><br />He added: &ldquo;It is essential that the information is meaningful and genuinely brings benefits by enhancing customers&rsquo; experiences of the firms they deal with.&rdquo;<br /><br />Complaints data will be be broken down into five product areas: banking, home finance, general insurance and pure protection, life and pensions, and investments.<br /><br />The proposals form part of Darling&rsquo;s efforts to give the FSA more teeth to intervene in the strategy of individual firms.<br /><br />The regulator will be handed new powers to suspend and penalise firms and individuals found guilty of misconduct, a move designed to make good on chief executive Hector Sants warning earlier this year that banks should &ldquo;be afraid&rdquo; of the City watchdog.