New Process Sees Early Resolution of Consumer Complaints – FDRS 


Financial Dispute Resolution Service has reported that 99 percent of its complaint enquiries in 2017/18 were closed through its new early resolution process.

Earlier resolution of complaints is beneficial for both FDRS members and their customers.

Although complaint enquiries went up from the year prior (915 enquiries in 2017/2018 up from 812 in 2016/2017), only nine complaints were finalised through their formal dispute resolution processes over 2017/18, according to its annual report for 2018.

Of total complaints, 10 percent related to insurers and 4.5 percent to financial advisers or brokers.

FDRS Client Director, Trevor Slater

FDRS Client Director, Trevor Slater, says their new process was put in place to make their complaint process more efficient and solve complaints earlier.

“When I first started at Financial Dispute Resolution Service many financial service providers were saying to me that the dispute resolution schemes seem to be moving to more formal decisions rather than facilitating early resolution,” said Slater.

“…we decided to change our process to have a major focus on resolution.”

“Based on what I had seen I tended to agree with that view. As such we decided to change our process to have a major focus on resolution,” said Slater.

He added they aim to assist their members early on, via early resolution tools, training and a help line, to help resolve a complaint internally rather than referring to their Scheme.

If the complaint does get referred to the Scheme, they open a case file and send the information to the Scheme member, who has 21 days to either respond or to resolve the complaint.

“In other words they get a ‘second bite of the cherry’,” said Slater. “We do this as sometimes a Scheme member can make a rushed call not to resolve internally or the complaint gets to the wrong person in the member’s organisation.”

Slater explained that formal adjudication is always their last choice to resolve a complaint and only when a resolution by agreement is not possible.

He offered seven tips for advisers to reduce their chances of being involved in complaints by their clients, as he said they often hear the question ‘how do I stop a complaint coming to you?’.

  1. Give good advice
  2. Be aware of the early signs of a potential high maintenance client (and don’t take them on). Signs are such things as you being their third or forth or more adviser, debating your suggestions, the ‘my friend said the best product was’ statement, not wanting to give you all their personal information and questions like ‘is it that important to list all my visits to the doctor?’ or ‘if I’ve had something wrong with me will that increase my premiums?’
  3. Keep good records so that you can ‘show why you did what you did’.
  4. Don’t get lazy with clients who are friends. Still follow process properly.
  5. Be open to accepting complaints and have a Resolution attitude not a ‘who is right and who is wrong’ one. And if you need help ask your dispute resolution scheme.
  6. Learn some complaint resolution skills and process.
  7. Be active in helping your client if they have a complaint about a product provider such as a denied claim. This will reduce the likelihood of the complaint becoming against you the adviser.