In accordance with Section 24 of the Investor Compensation Act, 1998 (the “Act”), the Board of the Investor Compensation Company DAC (the “ICCL”) has agreed the following process and procedures to investigate complaints and appeals. Section 24 of the Act states that:
“The Board shall establish and maintain procedures to investigate complaints against it by investment firms and by investors.” This procedure is in compliance with these requirements and it is the objective of the ICCL to resolve all complaints as soon as possible.
What is the purpose of the Complaints & Appeals Procedure?
This procedure will ensure that people understand how to make a complaint and what they can expect from us as a result.
Our procedure is to ensure that internal procedures for dealing with complaints are accessible, effective, easy to use, have clear lines of responsibility and accountability, and are fair, consistent and prompt.
We guarantee that a complaint will not affect how a person is treated by the ICCL in the future.
Who can make a complaint?
- Members of the Scheme i.e. participant firms of the Scheme;
- Claimants / Potential Claimants under the Scheme;
- Representative Bodies, i.e. those Professional Bodies which represent certain blocks of members of the Investor Compensation Scheme;
- The Administrator of a failed firm where the failure gives rise to claims for compensation;
- Suppliers of Goods and Services to the ICCL;
- The Media; and,
- The General Public.
Any person making a complaint is referred to as a “Complainant”.
Can someone make a complaint on behalf of the Complainant?
Yes. A complaint can be made on behalf of a Complainant with his or her consent (e.g., by his or her solicitor, accountant, etc.). This consent must be provided in writing via a Letter of Authority to the ICCL at the time of making the complaint. The Letter of Authority should confirm:
- the full details for the representative person / company who is acting on the Complainant’s behalf including name, address, email address, and telephone number;
- explicit authority for the ICCL to discuss the complaint with the representative; and
- confirmation as to where the complaint determination should be issued i.e. to the Complainant, the representative, or both.
Is there a time limit within which a complaint can be made?
Yes. A 6 year limit normally applies to all cases. This means the ICCL will not investigate a complaint arising from events that happened over 6 years ago.
However, where it appears to the ICCL that there are exceptional grounds for a longer period and that it would be just and equitable in the circumstances, the ICCL may extend this time limit
What types of complaint can a Complainant make?
A complaint is defined as “an expression of dissatisfaction made in writing that requires a response”.
The following items, for example, may be the subject of a complaint:
- Conduct of ICCL Board members and staff;
- Conduct of the Administrator of a failed firm;
- Equality and application of any aspect of the ICCL’s policies and procedures;
- Allegations in relation to the non-recording of payments / levies made;
- Delays in dealing with queries;
- Delays in making compensation payments to claimants and / or dissatisfaction with the amount of compensation paid;
- Disputes in relation to payment for Goods and Services;
- Errors in ICCL-published documents or in information provided by the ICCL which give rise to difficulties for an entity or individual acting in good faith on the basis of that information;
- Where the Complainant considers that the ICCL has failed to meet statutory duties/obligations under the Act.
- Other matters relevant to the ICCL Scheme under the Act.
How does a Complainant make a complaint?
The Complaint Form should be completed in full and sent by e-mail directly to the ICCL at firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing via normal post.
Should a form be received which is not fully complete the ICCL will request the omitted information prior to investigating the complaint
Will the ‘Complaint Form’ be acknowledged?
The Chief Operations Officer, or her/his nominee, will acknowledge receipt of the Complaint form, by written response, to the address for correspondence on the Complaint Form or in line with the accompanying Letter of Authority, if applicable. The ICCL will acknowledge the Complaint Form within 5 working days of receipt.
Who will investigate the Complaint?
The Chief Operations Officer of the ICCL will either investigate the matter him / herself or will appoint someone else to do so e.g. a director of the Board of the ICCL or an independent person. Where a complaint has been made against the COO, the Deputy Chairperson will carry out the investigation. The ICCL reserves the right to involve third parties in this process either as legal advisers to the ICCL or as an independent person appointed to investigate the matter and make a determination.
It is important to note that where a determination involves a third party, for example, the Administrator of a failed firm, the Chief Operations Officer of the ICCL will seek information from the Administrator not later than five business days after receiving all relevant details. In the event that there is a delay in receiving information from the Administrator, the Complainant will be informed by the ICCL and notified of a date by which they may expect a determination.
Will the Complainant be asked for further information?
If the information in the Complaint Form is incomplete or inadequate or, if for whatever reason, more information is required, the Complainant will be asked to supply further information and/or respond to certain questions. A meeting or meetings may be required in some cases. Please note that the complaint will not be investigated by the ICCL until all required information is submitted by the Complainant.
Who else may be involved in the determination?
Whilst the complaint determination will be made by the Chief Operations Officer of the ICCL, he/she may make the determination on the basis of a recommendation made by a third party e.g. a director of the Board of the ICCL or an independent person. The ICCL may also involve its own legal advisors. In addition, where a complaint is made about the Administrator of a failed firm, the ICCL will seek a response from the Administrator before making a determination. In any other circumstance where the ICCL proposes to consult a third party, it will do so only with the agreement of the Complainant.
When will the determination be made?
The ICCL will endeavour to provide regular status updates to the Complainant on the progress of the investigation of the complaint at intervals of not greater than 20 business days starting from the date on which the fully completed complaint was received (i.e. to include any further information requested).
The ICCL will investigate and attempt to resolve a complaint within 40 business days of having received the fully completed complaint.
If the complaint is not resolved within this 40 business days period, the ICCL will inform the Complainant of the anticipated timeframe within which it is hoped the investigation will be completed. The complaint determination will be issued in writing to the address as specified in the Complaint Form or in line with the instructions noted on the accompanying Letter of Authority, if applicable.
What will be contained in the determination?
The determination will contain the following:
- A statement of the determination (upheld/partially upheld/not upheld);
- A rationale for the determination (as appropriate);
- A reference to any legislation, legal precedent, policy or practice of the Investor Compensation Scheme or other materials relied upon.
If the Complainant is not happy with the determination, is there an appeal mechanism?
Yes. If the Complainant is not happy with ICCL’s response to the complaint and writes a letter expressing dissatisfaction with the determination, the Chairperson of the Board will review the manner in which the complaint was handled and either:
- advise the Complainant / appellant that the matter has been reviewed and that the earlier decision has been confirmed; or
- advise the Complainant / appellant that in the light of their review an alternative resolution has been agreed as set out; or
- if the Chairperson decides, two directors and the Deputy Chairperson may be appointed to review the complaint / appeal and how it has been handled. These Directors will report back to the Chairperson; or
- if the Chairperson decides, an independent party may be appointed to review the complaint / appeal and how it has been handled. The independent party will report back to the Chairperson.
A reply will be issued by the Chairperson of the Board of the ICCL and will advise the Complainant that this is the final decision of the Board of the ICCL. The outcome of the appeal will be made in writing as soon as practicable and, in any event, not later than 20 business days after all relevant details were received by or on behalf of the Chairperson of the Board of the ICCL. The outcome of the appeal will be issued to the address for correspondence specified in the Complaint Form or in line with the instructions noted on the accompanying Letter of Authority, if applicable.
Once the complaints/appeals process has been exhausted, the ICCL will not entertain further appeals unless new evidence is presented.
The ICCL reserves the right to cease to communicate with a Complainant (on matters relevant to a complaint) after the complaint/appeals process has been exhausted. When the ICCL exercises this right the Complainant will be advised of the decision.
Can this Complaints & Appeals Procedure be changed?
Yes. This procedure may be revised from time to time but any revised procedure will be in full conformity with the Investor Compensation Act, 1998 and relevant details will be published on the ICCL website.