Complaints Covered By The Financial Services Act

All investment businesses covered by the Act must have an internal complaints system. If that is insufficient to resolve a dispute, there are several other levels through -which you can take your complaint. In addition to the complaints procedures under the Act, there are other bodies who can deal with complaints, and these are dealt with later in the Section.

What the Act covers

The Financial Services Act applies to all organisations 'carrying on investment business in the UK'. 'Investment' as defined in the Act doesn't include a few things that you'd normally think of as investments, such as bank and building society deposit savings accounts, deposit-based pensions, or National Savings Bank accounts. But it covers the majority of investment products and services.

WARNING If you're dealing with a business permanently

based in the UK, the Financial Services Act will apply. If you're dealing with a business based overseas, the Act won't cover you in many cases. This means that there may be no safeguards to ensure that the firm is honest and competent, and no compensation if things do go wrong. Some overseas countries have their own investor protection rules that might apply, but these are usually not as rigorous as the UK rules, and often there is no protection at all. So you should check an overseas company's credentials very carefully before risking your money with it, and if you have any doubts, don't invest.

Complain To The Company

First discuss your complaint with the person you initially dealt with, whether it's the broker who bought shares for you, the person who sold you an insurance policy, or the counter staff in the building society who arranged to open your share account. If the matter is a simple one it might well be resolved on the spot.

If an immediate solution is not possible but further checking or investigation is required, give the person a chance, and the time they ask for, to investigate. But make clear that you'll expect to hear from them within a specified time, or that you'll be in touch again after... see: Complain To The Company

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