How to Make a Complaint
Top 5 tips
- Where you have a complaint against a regulated financial services business, report it FIRST to the business.
- Include as much information and evidence as possible to support the complaint.
- If you are still not satisfied inform the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman Commission who is able to adjudicate in complaints for acts or omissions by certain types of financial services providers that occurred on or after 2 July 2013.
- Alternatively, you could consider contacting the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Mediation service, or contacting a Guernsey advocate.
- You could also consider informing the Commission, who can only get involved to the extent of whether a licensee has breached their regulatory requirements – it does not include disputes of a contractual nature.
When would I make a complaint?
In the event that you are not entirely satisfied with the conduct or service provided by a regulated financial services business operating in the Bailiwick, you are encouraged to write to that business in the first instance explaining the situation. The financial services business would normally deal with this under their internal complaints policy.
A full list of financial services businesses regulated by the Commission can be found here.
How do I make a complaint?
It is recommended that you put your complaint in writing, to ensure that there is a record of the communication between you and the financial services business. When making a complaint, ensure you provide as much information as possible, including copies of any documents as evidence of the origin of your complaint with the financial services provider.
What should I do if I am unsatisfied with the outcome?
If following this you remain unsatisfied with the financial services business’s action or non-action, you may decide to refer it on to the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman.
More information about the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman can be found here.
Who else can I contact?
If you have an unresolved complaint that has already been raised with your financial services provider and your complaint is outside the scope of the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman, you may consider contacting the local mediation group at www.mediationguernsey.com.
Alternatively, the ultimate recourse is to take your complaint to the Law Courts. For legal advice you may contact an advocate (lawyer) practicing in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. A current list of advocates is available from Guernsey Bar at www.guernseybar.com.
Should I also contact the Commission?
The Commission is concerned when someone has a complaint against one of its licensees and treats all complaints against entities for which it has regulatory oversight seriously.
As the supervisor of financial services in defined areas, the Commission is able to investigate complaints, but only in the context of whether they reveal matters of concern to the Commission as an authorising and supervisory body. It is the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman or the Law Courts that is able adjudicate or decide on whether you should be compensated by the business your complaint is about. However, if you believe your complaint should be brought to our attention, we would be pleased to hear from you.
If you refer your complaint to the Commission, please ensure you provide as much information as possible, including copies of all relevant correspondence with the financial services provider. This will enable us to understand your complaint. All complaints should be made in writing, either by letter, or if it is easier you can email your complaint to us at [email protected].
What can the Commission do?
There are a number of financial services businesses in the Bailiwick that are not licensed by the Commission. These are referred to as non-regulated financial services businesses (NRFSBs). If you have made a complaint against a NRFSB, and are unsatisfied with the outcome, unfortunately the Commission will be unable to take this any further. However, if your complaint relates to lending by a NRFSB, the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman may be able to consider your complaint.
Please see the Commission's Non-Regulated Financial Services - Regulated Entities page to see a full list of NRFSBs.
Where the financial services business appears not to have observed good conduct of business, or appears to have breached the regulatory laws under which it operates, the Commission will look into this to verify whether the entity has acted in accordance with the relevant laws. It is important to be aware that the Commission is not an Ombudsman. It is therefore not empowered under the Law to compel the regulated business to offer compensation or redress to you as the complainant.
In addition, please be aware the Commission’s laws do not allow it to discuss its investigations, or disclose its findings, with you as the complainant. This is to ensure that the licensee is able to be completely open and honest with the Commission. You would only be made aware, if for example, a public statement was issued following any enforcement action that was taken by the Commission or as a result of court proceedings.
Although this can be frustrating for you as the complainant, it is important to remember that the Commission is only able to operate within its regulatory framework.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission will not get involved in a commercial dispute, where for instance a financial product does not perform as promised in the marketing literature, as that is the nature of financial products – whilst they can do well, there is always the possibility that they will not.
Where you have a complaint against the Commission itself, or any of the Commission’s staff members, we would ask you to write in to the Commission Secretary – click here for more information.