i) The purpose of this guide is to provide a framework to the internal complaint procedure covering:
(1) Receiving complaints;
(2) Responding to complaints;
(3) The appropriate investigation of complaints and the action required where a complaint cannot be resolved on the spot; and
(4) Notifying complainants of their right to go to the Financial Ombudsman Service where relevant.
ii) WH Ireland Ltd (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.
i) For the purposes of FSA requirements on complaints procedures (FSA Handbook) a complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether oral or written, and whether justified or not, from or on behalf of an eligible complainant about the firm's provision of, or failure to provide, a wealth planning activity.
ii) A complaint must involve an allegation that the complainant has suffered, or may suffer, financial loss, material inconvenience or material distress.
iii) An eligible complainant is a person who would be eligible to refer a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. An eligible complainant can be one of the following:-
(1) A private individual; or
(2) A business, which has a group annual turnover of less than £1million; or
(3) A charity, which has annual income of less than £1million; or
(4) A trustee of a trust which has a net asset value of less than £1million.
iv) An eligible complainant is one who is, has been, or was a potential customer of the firm.
i) All complaints are to be referred immediately to the Compliance Director using the complaints reporting template on the intranet http://whi-intranet/intranet-compliance-complaints.asp who will be responsible for carrying out a thorough and prompt investigation. The Compliance Director has the authority to settle any complaint.
ii) If a complaint (this may be verbally made), has not been resolved by the close of business the day after the complaint has been made, a written acknowledgement and a copy of these complaints procedures will be promptly, i.e. within five business days of the complaint being made, mailed to the complainant by the Compliance Director.
iii) The firm will endeavour to resolve a complaint at the earliest possible stage.
iv) The firm will within four weeks of receiving a complaint send the complainant either:-
(1) A final response; or
(2) A holding response, explaining why the firm is not yet in a position to resolve the complaint, and giving an indication when further contact will be made (must be within eight weeks of receipt of the complaint).
v) By the end of eight weeks after receipt of a complaint, the firm must send the complainant either:-
(1) A final response; or
(2) A response which:
(a) 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
(b) Informs the complainant that he may refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service if he is dissatisfied with the delay and enclose a copy of the Financial Ombudsman Service's explanatory leaflet.
vi) When the firm sends a complainant its final response, this must:-
(1) Inform the complainant that he may refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service if he is dissatisfied with the final response and he must do so within six months; and
(2) Enclose a copy of the Financial Ombudsman Service's explanatory leaflet (unless it has already done so).
vii) A closed complaint is a complaint:
(1) Where the firm has sent a final response; or
(2) Where the complainant has positively indicated acceptance of the firm's earlier response; or
(3) Where the complainant has failed to revert to the firm within eight weeks of the firm's most recent letter.
viii) The firm will cooperate fully with the Ombudsman in the handling of any complaints.
ix) If the firm offers any redress, it will be made promptly.