How we handle your claim for compensation

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1 Deposit and investment claims How we handle your claim for compensation 7th Floor, Lloyds Chambers 1 Portsoken Street, London E1 8BN Helpline: Fax:

2 Contents Glossary of terms 4 Where to contact us 4 About the 5 What the Scheme covers 6 Scheme rules: the main points 9 Claiming compensation 10 Compensation payments 12 Complaints 13 Frequently asked questions and answers 14 Other organisations that can help 17 Other professional bodies

3 Glossary of terms About the Financial Services Compensation Scheme Authorised company - A company, firm, partnership or individual permitted to carry out a regulated activity by the FSA. In default - The company is unable, or likely to be unable, to pay claims against it. EEA - European Economic Area. Eligible - Qualifying for compensation under Scheme rules. FSCS or the Scheme -. FSA - Financial Services Authority. FOS - Financial Ombudsman Service. FSMA - Financial Services & Markets Act 2000, an Act of Parliament governing the regulation and provision of financial products, product providers and financial advisers. Nominee - A company or individual who holds your funds or investments on your behalf. Where to contact us: (FSCS) 7th Floor, Lloyds Chambers, 1 Portsoken Street, London E1 8BN Helpline: Fax: The acts as a safety net for customers of finance sector companies. We compensate consumers if an authorised company is unable to pay claims against it. The Scheme covers investments, deposits and insurance and is funded by the industry. We aim to be open and approachable, and to treat everyone fairly and sympathetically. In this way we hope to prevent misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations about what we can do. We can only pay compensation according to our rules. This booklet is a general guide explaining how we handle compensation claims for investments and deposits. If you would like further information, please ring our Helpline on A separate booklet covers insurance claims. If you need one, please ask our Helpline for a copy. FSCS was created under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) and became operational on 1 December FSCS replaced the following compensation schemes: Building Societies Investor Protection Scheme Deposit Protection Scheme Friendly Societies Protection Scheme Investors Compensation Scheme PIA Indemnity Scheme Policyholders Protection Board Section 43 Scheme and the arrangement between the Association of British Insurers and the Investors Compensation Scheme Ltd for paying pension review compensation to widows, widowers and dependents of deceased persons. 4 5

4 What the Scheme covers Deposit protection FSCS provides protection for customers of deposit-taking companies. The Scheme is triggered when an authorised company goes out of business, for example if it is subject to an insolvency action, such as liquidation or administration. The Scheme may also be triggered when the FSA considers that an authorised company is unable to repay its depositors, or is likely to be unable to do so. Which deposit-takers are covered by the Scheme? Banks authorised under FSMA incorporated in the UK, including their EEA branches. Certain banks incorporated in other EEA states that have joined the UK scheme to add to the cover available in their home country for deposits taken by their UK branches. Certain banks incorporated outside the EEA in respect of deposits taken by their UK branches. Building societies. We expect that credit unions will be covered by the Scheme at a later date. Deposit-takers in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man are not covered by the Scheme. Investments The Scheme covers two kinds of loss. 1 When an authorised investment company goes out of business and cannot return your investments or money. 2 Loss arising from bad investment advice, or poor investment management. If the authorised company is no longer in business or is unable to pay your claim, we may be able to help you. Investments covered include: stocks and shares unit trusts futures and options personal pension plans long-term insurance policies, such as endowments. We can only pay compensation for bad advice or poor investment management by an authorised company if this took place: on or after 28 August 1988, and after the company became authorised. If you received the advice before 28 August 1988, or before a company became authorised, we are unlikely to be able to help you. 6 7

5 Scheme rules: the main points Insurance Policyholders are eligible for protection if they are insured by authorised insurance companies under contracts of insurance issued in the UK, or in some cases in the EEA, Channel Islands or Isle of Man. Policyholder protection is triggered if an authorised company is unable (or likely to be unable) to meet claims against it, for example if it has been placed in provisional liquidation. The Scheme will seek to take measures to safeguard policyholders, for example by trying to ensure that policies are transferred to another company. If this is not possible, compensation may be payable. The level of protection depends on the type of insurance policy. Re-insurance, marine, aviation, transport business, credit insurance and Lloyds policies are excluded. Also excluded are risks outside the EEA. We can only pay compensation when an authorised company is unable, or likely to be unable, to meet the claims against it. In general, this is when a company is insolvent or has gone out of business. Your eligibility for compensation To qualify for compensation you need to be eligible under our rules. The main points are: The Scheme was set up mainly to assist private individuals, although small businesses are also covered. Larger businesses are generally excluded, although there are some exceptions to this for deposit and insurance claims. There are maximum levels of compensation you can receive (see page 12), and the Scheme may not cover your entire loss. Our rules set out a full description of who we can compensate and form part of the FSA s Handbook. You can find this on its website: Claims before 1 December 2001 If you are claiming compensation for an insurance policy, please contact our Helpline for a copy of our booklet on insurance claims. Telephone: If you have a claim against a company that was insolvent or declared in default before FSCS became operational (1 December 2001), slightly different rules apply. The claim is covered by the rules governing the separate compensation schemes that existed before that date (listed on page 5), although we will still handle the claim. You should note that the compensation limit for deposit claims is affected (see page 12). 8 9

6 Claiming compensation It does not cost you anything to claim compensation, and our staff are always happy to answer your questions. We will do all we can to help you with your claim. First stages We will need to decide if you are eligible for compensation under our rules, and calculate what compensation is due to you. You must fill in an application form if you want compensation. If you need any help or information, you can contact our Helpline on If you have an investment claim If you want to make a claim against a failed investment company, for example an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA), write to us giving the following details: The full name and address of the authorised company, if you know it. When and how much you invested. What type of investment you made. Why you believe you have a claim. The application form tells us: When, why and how much you invested or deposited. What type of claim you have. Why you believe you have a claim. If relevant, what advice you were given at the time. If you have a deposit claim If you have an account with a deposit-taking company, you will be contacted by the liquidator or by FSCS. You will still need to fill in an application form. If you are not contacted, need advice, or if you are worried about what is happening with your claim, you can contact the Helpline on To be able to help you, we will need to know your account details. We will need to see any papers the firm sent you about your investments. The more information you can give us, the easier it will be for us to deal with your claim. We can only help you if the company cannot return the money or investments it owes to you, or cannot pay for losses it might have caused. We declare companies in this situation in default. Our investigations can take some time. If our investigations show that the company is unable, or likely to be unable, to meet the claims against it, we will declare it in default. Only after a declaration of default is made can we look at claims for compensation. To claim compensation from us, you will need to fill in an application form that we will send to you. If you have an insurance claim Please ring our Helpline and ask for a copy of our booklet on insurance claims. Telephone:

7 Compensation payments Complaints When we have looked at all the facts and figures, we will write and tell you if you are entitled to compensation and, if so, how much we can pay. There are limits to the amounts we can pay. To receive compensation, you will first need to accept and sign our offer document, including an assignment of rights. This gives us the right to recover from the company (if it has any money left), the amount we have paid you in compensation. If others are also responsible for your losses, the assignment of rights can help us claim back money from them as well. We will generally try to pay compensation within six months of receiving a claim, but delay may arise because of factors outside our control. For example, we may have difficulty getting hold of important files, be waiting for information from a liquidator, or the case may be particularly complicated. Compensation limits The maximum levels of compensation you can receive from the Scheme are: Deposits: 31,700 (100% of 2,000 and 90% of the next 33,000). Deposits in all currencies are covered. Investments: 48,000 (100% of 30,000 and 90% of the next 20,000). The actual level of compensation you receive will depend on the basis of your claim. If a deposit-taker went out of business before 1 December 2001, different limits will apply. What can I do if I m unhappy with the Scheme s decision on my claim? In some instances we cannot pay compensation, or we may not be able to compensate you fully for your losses. If this happens, we will always write to explain why. If you are not satisfied with our explanation, you can ask that your claim be reviewed by senior management and ultimately by the Chief Executive. A copy of our review procedure is available on request. What can I do if I m unhappy with the way the Scheme handled my claim? You can contact us if you are not happy with the way we handled your claim. We have a formal complaints procedure with a number of stages. These include a review of the case by senior management, the Chief Executive and ultimately an Independent Investigator, if necessary. A copy of our complaints procedure is available on request. If you have any queries, contact us: (FSCS) 7th Floor, Lloyds Chambers, 1 Portsoken Street, London E1 8BN Helpline: Fax:

8 Frequently asked questions and answers Q. Will I need legal or professional advice to make a claim? A. You do not need to claim through a solicitor, accountant or anyone else. Bringing a claim direct to the Scheme will not cost you anything. If you do decide to instruct someone to act for you, we will not usually be able to pay their fees. Q. Why do claims sometimes go to the FSA s Pension Unit? A. If your claim is a Pension Review case, it will probably be looked at first by the FSA s Pension Unit which may then pass it to us. Please do not hesitate to contact our Helpline on if you would like an update on the progress of your claim. Q. How quickly should I make my claim? A. Once you discover there is a problem, contact us as soon as you can. If you are aware that we have declared a firm in default, you should claim for compensation from us as soon as possible. If you have an account with a deposit-taking company (such as a bank or building society), you will normally be contacted by the liquidator or by us. If you are not contacted please call our Helpline on Q. How do you decide whether you can help me? A. Our rules tell us which claims are eligible. We have to consider every application for compensation carefully and we need to check that the losses you are claiming are covered by our rules. If you are not eligible for compensation under our rules, we will write and explain why. Our rules give a full description of who is eligible for compensation and form part of the FSA s Handbook. You can find this on its website: Q. Are there any legal time limits on making a claim? A. There is no time limit for making a claim for compensation to the Scheme, although for investment business the Scheme can only pay compensation if a company was declared in default on or after 28 August However, claims may be subject to the same time limits a court would apply, which generally means a limit of six years. Q. Do you cover investments or deposits made through solicitors and other professionals? A. The Law Society has its own compensation scheme (see page 18), so claims against solicitors in England, Wales and Scotland should be referred to it. Claims against some other professionals can be made to us, but only if the claim arises on or after 1 December Separate compensation schemes existed before this date and their rules still apply to claims arising before 1 December 2001 (see pages 18-19). 14 Q. How long will it take to process my claim? A. We usually try to process claims within six months of receiving a completed application form. However, delays may be caused by factors outside our control, or because the case is particularly complicated. Please do not hesitate to contact our Helpline on if you would like an update on the progress of your claim. Q. Does compensation cover any guarantees I was given? A. The fact that the return on an investment was described as guaranteed does not mean we can pay you compensation equal to the return you were promised. 15

9 Other organisations that can help 16 Q. Are offshore deposits or investments covered? A. Deposits outside the EEA, including in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man, are not covered by us. For investments you can complain to the authorised investment company that gave you advice, if you feel that the advice was wrong or that the investment was mismanaged. If you are still not happy, you should complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service (see page 17). If the authorised investment company owes you money, but is unable to pay, we may be able to help. Q. Are deposits or investments held by nominee companies covered? A. Authorised investment companies such as stockbrokers may arrange for your shares to be registered in the name of a nominee. They cannot do this unless you agree in writing. Nominee companies are covered if an authorised investment company has accepted responsibility for their losses. If not, the nominee company will have to be authorised itself for us to be able to pay compensation. You can check this by phoning the FSA s Consumer Helpline on Deposits held in client accounts, for example by professionals, are protected. The regulator The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is the UK s financial regulator. On 1 December 2001 it took over responsibility for regulation from the following: Bank of England (in respect of deposits and investments) Building Societies Commission Friendly Societies Commission (in respect of insurance business) Insurance Directorate (HM Treasury) Investment Management Regulatory Organisation (IMRO) Personal Investment Authority (PIA) Securities and Futures Authority (SFA) Securities and Investments Board (SIB) The ombudsman If a company is still trading you should complain directly to it. If you are not happy with how it deals with your claim, and you have exhausted its complaints procedures, you should contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). On 1 December 2001 the FOS took over from the following bodies: The Banking Ombudsman Building Societies Ombudsman Insurance Ombudsman Bureau Investment Ombudsman PIA Ombudsman SFA Complaints Bureau SIB Complaints Service You can telephone the FSA s Consumer Helpline to find out about the status of a Personal Insurance Arbitration Service company. Contact Q. Can you compensate companies as well as people? A. The Scheme was set up mainly to help private customers of authorised companies. We can also help small businesses and some trusts that have lost money. We do not pay compensation to large companies or financial firms, except for compulsory and long-term insurance. Our rules set out a full description of who we can compensate and form part of the FSA s Handbook. You can find this on its website: Contact Financial Services Authority 25 The North Colonnade Canary Wharf, London E14 5HS Consumer Helpline: Fax: Financial Ombudsman Service South Quay Plaza, 183 Marsh Wall London E14 9SR Telephone: Fax:

10 Other professional bodies Recognised professional bodies The Law Society has its own compensation arrangements for its members investment business. Please contact: FSCS covers claims against accountants and actuaries who are declared in default after 1 December 2001, and for business conducted after this date. If the company went out of business before 1 December 2001, or the claim is for business conducted before this date, please contact the appropriate organisation (below): The Law Society (England & Wales) 113 Chancery Lane London WC2A 1PL Tel: Fax: The Law Society of Scotland 26 Drumsheugh Gardens Edinburgh EH3 7YR Tel: Fax: FSCS covers investment business claims against solicitors in Northern Ireland who are declared in default after 1 December If the company went out of business before 1 December 2001, please contact: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) 29 Lincoln s Inn Fields London WC2A 3EE Tel: Institute of Actuaries Staple Inn Hall High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ Tel: Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ireland CA House Pembroke Road Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 Tel: Fax: Donegall Square South Belfast BT1 5JE Tel: Fax: The Law Society of Northern Ireland Law Society House 98 Victoria Street, Belfast BT1 3JZ Tel: Fax: Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) PO Box 433 Chartered Accountants Hall Moorgate Place London EC2P 2BJ Tel: Fax: Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland CA House 21 Haymarket Yards Edinburgh EH12 5BH Tel: Fax:

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