We pride ourselves on our service levels and our stated aim is to exceed your expectations, however the claims process can be a long and often frustrating experience. This document aims to help you understand the process that you are about to embark upon and what you can expect from us in the coming weeks and months:
- Following your initial enquiry to discuss your potentially mis-sold financial product with SFE Associates, we will contact you by your preferred method of contact to take some brief details about your case and send you a Claims Pack via email and/or post.
- We will leave you to read and understand the Claims Pack and contact you again after three days have passed, or after one day if we have emailed the Claims Pack and you are keen to proceed, to set up an initial appointment.
- The Claims Pack includes:
- Complaint Details Form* to establish against whom a potential complaint is to be made
- Pre-submission Questionnaire* to establish the facts of your case
- Form of Authority* (x2) to give us your permission to act on your behalf
- Customer Contract*(x2), which sets out the terms of engagement under which we will act on your behalf and the fees we will charge you.
- Complaints Policy, in the unlikely event you wish to make a complaint
- Pre-contract Customer Declaration* to confirm you fully understand all the options available to you for making your claim.
- Cancellation form, should you wish to no longer pursue your claim with us.
- This initial appointment may be conducted on the phone or may take place with a representative of SFE Associates during a face to face home visit.
- You will be asked to read and complete the documentation above, so we can better understand the nature of your claim and our fee will be confirmed to you again. If you are happy to proceed, you’ll be asked to sign the starred documents (*), and if you wish, the Spousal Consent form to enable us to discuss your case with your spouse, which will enable us to start to make enquiries with the relevant parties on your behalf.
- Unless you tell us differently, we will contact you by phone, email and/or SMS to update you.
- We will contact you within 48 hours of receiving the paperwork that has been completed at Stage One. We will check with you that the information you provided in your claim form is correct and that you are happy to proceed.
- Within 48 hours, we will send the Forms of Authority (that you signed at Stage One) to the relevant companies and/or people; who advised you and/or the financial product provider.
- Where appropriate, we will register the claim with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), who will then send us their claim form, which requires your signature. When we receive the form, we will post it to you for you to sign and return to us.
- Please note, the financial advisor and/or product provider have up to one month to provide us with the information we’ve asked them for. Some respond quickly, some request further documentation such as certified ID and signatures, and others don’t respond at all! If this is the case, we may need to ask you to sign a further Form of Authority. Those who ignore our first reminder for your information are promptly referred to our legal team.
- We will keep you regularly informed of progress made in chasing third parties. Please be aware that in the unlikely event they do fail to respond, despite all our efforts, we may have to put your case on hold until we have the necessary information back from them via legal channels, or we have accessed the information from other sources.
- When all the requested information (including your signed FSCS claim form) has been sent back to us, the Fact Finding stage has been completed.
- Your case will be underwritten within 14 days of the last piece of requested information being received by us. If it results in a valid claim, your complaint will be sent to the appropriate people i.e. the financial advisor/product provider or FSCS, in order that they start to process it.
- Please be aware that the FSCS tries to resolve all these types of claims within 6 months from receipt of their correctly completed form, or within 6 months of the relevant company being declared in ‘default’, whichever is later. That said, we are aware of cases that have taken even longer for the FSCS to resolve and it is possible that you may see very little activity occurring during this period. This is an unfortunately long amount of time but is completely normal for the FSCS.
- Sometimes, we may need a further Form of Authority signed by you, in which case, we’ll contact you, to let you know.
- If the financial advisor/product provider (to which we are complaining) is still trading, it has up to 8 weeks to deal with your complaint. In some cases, it may accept your claim and arrange to compensate you. Sometimes, however, the financial advisor or product provider doesn’t acknowledge the complaint and doesn’t deal with the complaint within the 8 weeks allowed.
- If the financial advisor/product provider fails to respond, or rejects your claim, we will send you a Financial Ombudsman (FOS) form to sign and return to us. Please be aware that, if this is the case, it could take up to 24 months for a decision from the Ombudsman. In this instance, we will keep you informed of any progress on a regular, quarterly basis until we have obtained a ruling from the FOS.
- If the FSCS upholds your complaint, you will receive notification directly from them and we will receive a copy of the decision. Shortly afterwards, payment from the FSCS will be made and our agreed fee will be invoiced accordingly.
- In the unlikely event that the FSCS does not uphold your complaint, we will review the case within seven days and either appeal or accept their decision. We will naturally keep you informed on a regular basis, in either event.
- If your complaint is not upheld by the FSCS, we will notify you and explain to you why this is the case. We will also discuss any potential further courses of action with you, such as an appeal.
- Once you have received your compensation, you may have questions about what happens next. You may want to take advice about your ongoing financial arrangements, given that you have just been compensated for the losses you have sustained.
- We will endeavour to help you wherever we can and will be able to recommend a financial advisor to help you with any questions you may have.
- We will be pleased to let you know about other products and services we have, which may be of interest to you both now, and at some point, in the future.