The United Kingdom’s financial regulator, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published some key data on its service standards specific to complaints investigations and resolution functions for the 2019/2020 period. The data analyzes performance from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

In its report, the FCA highlighted a sharp increase in the number of inbound complaints from financial service customers, as well as impacts from Covid-19 shutdowns and delays. Specifically, the regulator noted that:

Some of the areas they have improved compared to last year are:

  • responding to 98.7% of letters from firms within 5 working days, compared to 91.9% in 2018/2019
  • increasing the satisfaction score for consumer correspondence to 80% (up from 78% in 2019 and 79.3% in 2018) and meeting our target for the first time in over 2 years

Areas where they still need to improve are:

  • The response rate for substantive replies to MP letters decreased this year. Our target is to respond to 80% of these letters within 15 working days and 100% within 20 working days. During 2019, our response rate within the 15-day timescale was 54.3% and this dropped to 49.7% in 2020 due to the increase in the number of letters received, up from 405 in 2019 to 482 in 2020, and in their complexity. While we responded to 240 MP letters within 15 working days in 2020, this increase meant our overall response rate dropped. Similarly, meeting our 20-day timescale decreased from 81.2% in 2019 to 78.3% in 2020.
  • Our response rate when completing an investigation into a complaint. For complaints dealt with by the local business area, our target is to complete an investigation and send a response to the complainant within 10 working days. We have set a voluntary target of meeting this timeframe for 95% of cases. Again, there has been a sharp increase in complaint volumes which has challenged the team’s capacity to meet demand. As a result, we have seen a sharp decline in this standard, only achieving 79.1% in 2020 compared with 96.6% in 2019.

As such, the regulator has indicated that they meet expectations when responding initially to a complaint received, within 5 working days, but still need to improve their operations and timeliness of answers to complaints that take on a formal resolution process within the regulatory body. Such communications related to complaints are completed “on time” only 79% of the time within a 10 and 20 day window. While this may not indicate a great performance, it is nonetheless a swift process considering the continued delays and disruptions of Covid-19.