The purpose of this guide is to provide a framework for WH Ireland Limited’s complaint handling procedure covering:
- Receiving complaints;
- Responding to complaints;
- The investigation of complaints and the action required where a complaint cannot be resolved on the spot; and
- Notifying complainants of their right to go to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) where relevant.
WH Ireland Limited (the Firm) is committed to ensuring that all complaints received are handled fairly, consistently and promptly and that the firm identifies and remedies any recurring or systematic problems, as well as any specific problem identified by a complainant.
For the purposes of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) requirements on complaints procedures, a complaint is 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 redress determination.
A complaint must involve an allegation that the complainant has suffered (or may suffer) financial loss, material inconvenience or material distress.
An eligible complainant is a person who would be eligible to refer a complaint to the FOS. An eligible complainant can be one of the following:-
- A individual acting outside their trade, business or profession; or
- A micro-enterprise, which employs fewer than 10 persons and has a turnover or annual balance sheet that does not exceed €2 million; or
- A charity, which has annual income of less than £1 million; or
- A trustee of a trust which has a net asset value of less than £1 million.
The Head of Compliance and Risk is responsible for ensuring complaints are handled appropriately and in accordance with the requirements. The Head of Compliance and Risk has the authority to settle any complaint. All current client complaints are formally reviewed by the Complaints Forum which meets on a monthly basis. The Complaints Forum reports to the WHIreland Executive Committee. All WHIreland complaints handling policies and procedures are formally reviewed and approved at least annually by the Complaints Forum and then by the WHIreland Executive Committee.
Clients and potential clients who submit a complaint will not be charged for submitting a complaint. Once a complaint has been received it will be investigated competently, diligently and impartially, obtaining additional information as necessary.
The firm will endeavor to resolve a complaint at the earliest possible stage.
The firm will consider whether the complaint should be upheld, the remedial action and/or redress that may be appropriate and whether there are reasonable grounds to be satisfied that another firm may be solely or jointly responsible for the matter alleged in the complaint.
If a complaint has not been resolved by the close of business on the third business day after the compliant has been made, a written acknowledgement and a copy of these complaints procedures will be provided to the complainant within seven business days.
By the end of eight weeks after receipt of a complaint, the firm must send the complainant either:-
- A final response; or
- A response which:
1) Explains that the firm is still not in a position to make a final response, giving reasons for the further delay and provide an indication when a final response will be made; and
2) Informs the complainant that he may refer the complaint to the FOS if he is dissatisfied with the delay and enclose a copy of FOS’s explanatory leaflet.
When the firm sends a complainant its final response, this must:-
- Inform the complainant that he may refer the complaint to the FOS if he is dissatisfied with the final response and he must do so within six months; and
- Enclose a copy of the FOS explanatory leaflet (unless it has already done so)
A closed complaint is a complaint where:
- the firm has sent a final response; or
- the complainant has positively indicated acceptance of the firm’s earlier response; or
- the complainant has failed to revert to the firm within eight weeks of the firm’s most recent letter.
The firm will cooperate fully with the FOS in the handling of any complaints.
If the firm offers any redress, it will be made promptly.
If the firm receives a complaint which is outside the time limits for referral to the Financial Ombudsman Service it may reject the complaint without considering the merits, but must explain this to the complainant in a final response.