The Regulators

The Financial Services Act itself just sets out a framework of rules. The real regulation is in the hands of the Securities and Investments Board (SIB), which has delegated many of its day-to-day powers to the five Self Regulating Organisations (SR0s). All investment businesses must be `authorised' either directly by the SIB or by belonging to one of the SR0s, and they must abide by the rules of the regulating body.

Some professions (such as solicitors and accountants), which conduct investment business which is 'incidental' to their main activities, need not belong to an SRO, but can be authorised by a professional body which has been granted the status of a Recognised Professional Body (RPB).

If you have a complaint which hasn't been dealt with satisfactorily by the company concerned, you may be able to take it to an Ombudsman or Referee scheme ). Alternatively, you could take it to the relevant SRO, RPB, or the SIB (if the business is authorised directly by the S I B ). If you're not happy with the way an SRO or RPB handles your case, you can refer it to the SIB itself. If the SRO, RPB or the SIB thinks that rules have been broken, they will investigate the company and may take disciplinary action against it. Your case may be referred to a special complaints procedure, such as the relevant Ombudsman or Referee scheme. The SIB, the SROs and the RPBs all have slightly different complaints procedures, but all have such a mechanism. And all will refer your case on to the appropriate body, if you initially approach the wrong one, or if findings suggest that one of the other bodies should be involved.

An investment business must make clear to customers which SRO, or RPB (or the SIB) it belongs to - for example, this information must be included on any business cards or stationery. Also, you can find out by consulting the SIB register ).

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,... see: Complaints Covered By The Financial Services Act

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