Guidelines for complaints-handling for the securities (ESMA) and banking (EBA) sectors

Status: Final and translated into the EU official languages

ESMA and the EBA are proposing to develop complaint handling guidelines for the investment and banking sectors that are identical to the existing EIOPA guidelines for the insurance sector. The objective is to provide EU consumers with a single set of complaints handling arrangements, irrespective of the type of product or service and of the geographical location of the firm in question. This will also allow firms to streamline and standardise their complaints handling arrangements and national regulators to supervise the same requirements across all sectors of financial services.

EBA updates the Joint Committee Guidelines on complaints-handling to extend their scope of application

EBA updates the Joint Committee Guidelines on complaints-handling to extend their scope of application

31 July 2018

The European Banking Authority (EBA) published today an update to the Joint Committee (JC) Guidelines on complaints-handling, which includes an extension of their scope of application to the authorities supervising the new institutions established under the revised Payment Service Directive (PSD2) and the Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD). This extension will ensure that an identical set of requirements for complaints-handling continues to apply to all financial institutions across the banking, investment and insurance sectors. This will provide consumers with the same level of protection, irrespective of which regulated product or service they are purchasing and which regulated institution they are purchasing it from.
 
The JC Guidelines are addressed to authorities competent in their jurisdictions for supervising complaints-handling by firms, which in the banking sector include credit institutions, payment institutions and electronic money institutions, as defined in the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD), the PSD2 and the Electronic Money Directive (EMD) respectively.
The scope of the application of the JC Guidelines will be extended as of 1 May 2019 to the authorities competent for supervising complaints-handling by:
 
  • Payment initiation service providers, which provide only payment initiation services;
  • Account information service providers (AISPs) benefiting from an exemption under Article 33 of PSD2, which provide only account information services;
  • Credit intermediaries under the MCD; 
  • Non-credit institution creditors under the MCD.
 
In the specific case of AISPs, which provide only account information services, but no other payment services, the EBA, in line with related requirements set out in the PSD2, confirmed that the Guidelines will apply only to security-related complaints.
 
The EBA also clarified that all credit intermediaries should inform consumers about the procedures for submitting a complaint, although competent authorities should consider a general proportionality principle when applying the JC Guideline to credit intermediaries that are sole traders. In relation to the specific case of credit intermediaries that are tied to, or work exclusively for, one creditor, the EBA further clarified that these intermediaries can either handle complaints themselves or rely on the complaints-handling procedure of the creditor.

Legal basis and background

In June 2012, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published its ‘Guidelines on Complaints-Handling by Insurance Undertakings'. In June 2014, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the EBA read across these Guidelines to the investment and banking sectors respectively and issued them as JC Guidelines for complaints-handling for the securities and banking sectors, under Article 16 of Regulation (EU) 1093/2010 (EBA Regulation).
 
In March 2016, Directive 2014/17/EU on credit agreements for consumers relating to residential immovable property (the Mortgage Credit Directive) started to apply and introduced requirements for credit agreements offered by credit institutions and two new types of institutions - credit intermediaries and non-credit institution creditors, which were not in the scope of the JC Guidelines that had been published in June 2014. 
 
In January 2018, Directive (EU) 2015/2366 on payment services in the internal market (the revised Payment Services Directive) started to apply and added two new providers of payment services – account information service providers and payment initiation service providers, which were also not in the scope of the JC Guidelines.
The JC Guidelines set out requirements in relation to firms' complaints management policy and function, their registration of complaints, their reporting to national competent authorities, and their assessment of, and responses to, the complaints. 

Press contacts:

Franca Rosa Congiu

E-mail: press@eba.europa.eu - Tel: +44 (0) 207 382 1772

ESMA and EBA publish harmonised guidelines for handling consumer complaints across the EU

ESMA and EBA publish harmonised guidelines for handling consumer complaints across the EU

13 June 2014

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) published today their Joint Committee final Report on guidelines for handling consumer complaints in the securities and banking sectors. The document aims to increase market confidence and for the benefit of consumers and firms alike it will ensure a harmonised approach to handling complaints for all 28 EU Member States and across all financial services sectors.

The final report published today is part of the efforts of the European Supervisory Authorities to bring further supervisory convergence across the securities and banking sectors. It was developed on the basis of the existing complaints-handling guidelines established by EIOPA (the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority) for the insurance sector. The report was launched for a public consultation last year and this final version takes into consideration the feedback received.

ESMA and the EBA consider that these guidelines will ensure a consistent approach to complaints-handling across the EU. Consumers can purchase financial services and products in the investment, banking and insurance sectors across the entire EU Single Market and these guidelines will allow them to refer to a single set of complaints-handling arrangements. EU consumers will therefore be able to rely on the same approach irrespective of what type of product they have purchased and where they have purchased it.

In addition to strengthening consumer protection -a key statutory objective for ESMA and for the EBA-, the guidelines will also allow firms, some of which sell products from more than one sector across the EU, to streamline and standardise their own complaints-handling arrangements. National regulators too will be able to supervise the same harmonised requirements across all sectors of financial services in their own jurisdictions.

The guidelines will be translated into the official languages of the European Union (EU) and they will become applicable two months after the date of publication of their translations.

Note to the editors

The European system for the supervision of the financial sector is made of three supervisory authorities: the European Securities and Markets Authorities (ESMA), the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). The system also comprises the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) as well as the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities and the national supervisory authorities.

Whilst the national supervisory authorities remain in charge of supervising individual financial institutions, the objective of the European supervisory authorities is to improve the functioning of the internal market by ensuring appropriate, efficient and harmonised European regulation and supervision.

Press contacts:

Franca Rosa Congiu

E-mail: press@eba.europa.eu - Tel: +44 (0) 207 382 1772