Regulators warn firms over consumer disputes
INVESTMENT firms and stockbrokers have been told to improve their procedures for dealing with complaints from customers after a probe by the Central Bank found problems dealing with consumer disputes.
Regulators said some firms were slow in dealing with consumers and others failed to tell clients about their right to appeal to the ombudsman.
The Central Bank said there was "significant" room for improvement in how complaints were handled.
The bank said the findings were positive overall, as most of the firms involved had correct procedures in place.
But a study of 53 firms found one in five did not acknowledge each complaint, while more than a quarter did not provide complainants with regular written updates.
Under a directive called the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), stockbrokers and investment firms must have transparent processes for handling complaints, and keep a record of each complaint and the measures taken to resolve it.
The Central Bank said it had written to all stockbrokers and investment firms advising them to review their current procedures to make sure they met the required standards.
Head of consumer protection in the Central Bank Sharon Donnelly said: "The Central Bank considers the identified failures do not meet the definition of an effective and transparent procedure for the prompt handling and resolution of complaints."
Regulators have now written to all firms to advise them of this. However, no enforcement action will be taken over the failings identified.