The government has awarded super-complainant status to consumer and business groups for the financial services sector.

They now have the power to present complaints to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) if they believe there are features of a financial services market that are significantly damaging the interests of consumers.  The four organisations, which include business groups for the first time are: the Federation of Small Businesses, Which?, Citizens Advice, and the Consumer Council Northern Ireland.

The super-complaints procedure was introduced by the Financial Services Act 2012 to strengthen the voice of consumers of financial services.  In the past, super-complaints about financial services could only be made to the Office of Fair Trading. Now the FCA can use its powers to tackle any underlying issues identified as a result of a super-complaint.

James Burgoyne, Director, Brunel Professional Risks sees the move as having positives for IFAs.  “We have all seen the damage caused to the financial services industry by miss-selling scandals – and the knock-on affect these have on professional indemnity insurance availability and premiums for Financial Advisers.  IFAs are in the front line of the financial services industry and will be among the first to spot bad practice by providers.  This move will enable them to alert powerful consumer and business groups to the risks.  Any move that reduces risk and eliminate poor practice is good news for the financial advice sector overall.”

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid said:  “The government is determined to create a financial services sector that serves the needs of customers rather than the other way round. It is vital that consumers, including small and medium-sized businesses, have a stronger voice to raise issues when they feel specific markets are not working as they should.”

HM Treasury’s press release announcing the move is available here and articles about the initiative have been published by COVER magazine and New Model Adviser.