Complaints Handling Policy and Procedures
Definitions, Understanding and Applicability
The Firm has formally adopted the definition provided by the DFSA GLO Module for the term ‘Complaint’. This definition states that a Complaint is “any oral or written expression of dissatisfaction from a Client to an Authorised Firm in connection with the provision of, or failure to provide, a Financial Service to the Client”. It’s worth noting that the expression of dissatisfaction can be justified or not.
The DFSA definition of a Complaint is broad and should be treated as such to encompass any expression of dissatisfaction from a client, spanning the entirety of their interactions with the Firm. This includes a spectrum of dissatisfaction that ranges from minor issues related to all back-office service processing to more significant concerns from instances such as erroneous or misleading advice on financial products or the arrangement of unfavourable deals in investment, resulting in financial material prejudice to the client beyond typical market volatility.
Employees are advised to consult with the Compliance Officer if further clarification is needed regarding the provided definition of a Complaint.
This Complaint Handling Policy and Procedures applies to the Firm’s both Retail and Professional Clients.
Handling a Complaint
Any employee who receives a complaint, whether verbally or in writing, must promptly complete the Complaints Handling Reporting form (Appendix H.1) and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org to report it to both the Compliance Officer and SEO. Other members of the Compliance Committee may also be included in the email distribution list to receive a copy of incoming Complaints.
Upon receipt of the Complaint, the Compliance Officer or SEO will send an acknowledgement of receipt to the complainant within seven days of receiving the Complaint. This acknowledgement should include the following:
- The contact details of any individual responsible for handling the Complaint;
- Key particulars of the Firm Complaints handling procedures; and,
- A statement that a copy of the procedures is available free of charge upon request.
Investigation of a Complaint
The Compliance Officer and SEO will collaborate and appoint an individual who will be responsible for handling the Complaint (“Complaint Handler”), ensuring that the appointed individual is not involved in the Complaint. The designated individual must demonstrate fairness and impartiality and possess sufficient authority to address the complaint effectively.
The Complaint Handler will investigate the Complaint considering the involvement of any other Authorised Firm or a Regulated Financial Institution. If it is determined that another entity is entirely or partly responsible for the subject matter of the Complaint, the Complaint Handler may opt to refer the Complaint, or the relevant part of it, to the other Authorised Firm or Regulated Financial Institution for further examination. To refer a Complaint, the Complaint Handler must proceed as follows:
- Inform the complainant promptly and in writing, via email, about the intention to refer the Complaint, either entirely or in part, to another Authorised Firm or Regulated Financial Institution and obtain the written consent of the complainant to do so;
- If the complainant consents to the referral of the complaint, refer the Complaint to the other Authorised Firm or Regulated Financial Institution promptly, in writing, via email;
- Inform the complainant promptly and in writing via email that the Complaint has been referred and include adequate contact details of any individual and/or the department at the other Authorised Firm or Regulated Financial Institution responsible for handling the complaint; and,
- Continue to deal with any part of the Complaint not referred to the other Authorised Firm or Regulated Financial Institution in accordance with the requirements set out within this section of the Manual.
The Complaint Handler shall comprehensively document all the Complaint investigation findings, including third-party involvement, assessment of redress terms, executed actions, and proposed follow-up measures on the Complaints Handling Reporting form. Subsequently, the completed form shall be forwarded to the Compliance Officer and/or SEO via email for thorough review and approval.
Resolution of a Complaint
The Firm aims to achieve full resolution of a complaint within 30 days but no later than 60 days from the receipt of the Complaint. If additional time beyond 30 days is required due to the complexity of the complaint or involvement of third parties, the Compliance Officer or the SEO must provide the complainant with a written update via email regarding the progress of the resolution.
Upon conclusion of an investigation of a Complaint, the Compliance Officer or SEO must promptly:
- advise the complainant in writing via email of the resolution of the Complaint;
- provide the complainant with clear terms of redress, if applicable; and
- comply with the terms of redress if accepted by the complainant.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the resolution of the complaint or the terms of redress offered by the Authorized Firm, the Compliance Officer must inform the complainant of other avenues for resolution. These may include recourse to an external dispute resolution scheme, arbitration, or seeking redress through the DIFC Court. Additionally, the Compliance Officer should explain how the complainant can lodge a complaint directly with the DFSA, either by completing its online complaints form at https://www.dfsa.ae/Consumer/Complaints or by writing to DFSA, Level 13, The Gate, PO Box 75850, Dubai, UAE.
Retention of Records
The Compliance Officer is responsible for accurately recording all complaints, including those resolved at the point of receipt, in the Complaints Handling Register, which is stored within the Company’s Monday.com account (Appendix H.2). This register must include the following essential information:
- Complainant’s full name;
- Client type (i.e. Retail, Professional);
- Date the Complaint was received;
- Medium of receipt of the Complaint (i.e. telephone, email, face to face);
- Date the Complaint was acknowledged;
- Details about the Complaint;
- Any individual involved;
- The individual responsible for investigating the Complaint;
- Any other Authorised Firm or Regulated Financial Institution involved;
- Date of data transfer consent received;
- Status of the Complaint;
- Actions taken to resolve the Complaint;
- Any systemic issues or regulatory breaches identified; and
- Date the Complaint was resolved.
The Compliance Officer is responsible for securely maintaining all documentation pertaining to Complaints against the Firm within the clients’ designated files on the Firm’s CRM system, WealthCraft. This documentation, including the completed Complaints Handling Reporting form, email correspondence, any relevant terms or redress, and details of actions taken by the Firm to resolve each complaint, must be retained for a minimum period of six years from the date of receipt of the Complaint.
Systems and Controls
As part of the Firm’s Compliance Monitoring Program (CMP), the Compliance Committee will conduct monthly follow-ups on any received complaints and quarterly evaluations of the Complaints baseline recorded in the Complaints Handling Register. This ensures that feedback or lessons learned from received complaints are incorporated into this policy and procedures, as well as into wider business practices. Additionally, the Compliance Officer will review the Complaints Handling Policy and Procedures annually.
The Compliance Officer shall diligently analyse and promptly escalate any recurring systemic issues discovered during Complaints investigations to the attention of the SEO and the Compliance Committee for discussion and immediate remedial action. Furthermore, the Compliance Officer is obligated to promptly notify the DFSA of any complaints involving a breach of DFSA Rules or the identification of serious systemic issues.
The Compliance Officer will include, if applicable, relevant information pertaining to received Complaints, along with the number of Complaints, into the Compliance Monitoring Program (CMP) issued quarterly as part of the Firm’s management information framework, as provided in the Firm’s Regulatory Business Plan (RBP).