PracticeAccounting FirmsFSA’s ‘nil’ complaints confusion

FSA's 'nil' complaints confusion

Failure to submit a complaints return to the UK financial regulator could cost accountancy firms hundreds of pounds even if no one has complained about the firms' investment services.

Link: Firms face £1m disaster recovery bill

Under the Financial Services Authority rulebook, firms are required to send a ‘nil return’ complaints form by the end of October, and the authority will be able to ‘name and shame’ those that have failed to do so. ‘Regulated firms are expected to understand everything in the rulebook; ignorance is no excuse,’ warned Gary Dixon, MD of PYV Corporate Resourcing, a compliance specialist.

According to Dixon, many firms believe they are not affected by the regulations as they are in a transitional period. ‘They are fooling themselves if they think they can last until November,’ he said.

The FSA has been forced to issue a reminder to all regulated firms, highlighting obligations under the new regime. A subsequent letter sent to all compliance officers in August spelt out the ‘nil return’ requirement.

According to Ralph Lindeyer, a partner at compliance adviser CCL, under the so-called ‘light touch’ regime firms need to make sure they understand their obligations and cannot rely on the FSA to provide a schedule. ‘Firms must take steps to ensure they are aware of the rules,’ Lindeyer said.

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