This information is relevant to UK consumers of businesses established in the European Economic Area (EEA) in the event that the UK leaves the European Union (EU) without a withdrawal agreement.

Background

The below is a brief Q&A on complaints about financial businesses if the UK were to leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement in place.

The Financial Ombudsman Service expects to be able to continue to look at complaints that relate to activities before the UK left the EU in the same way as before.

What about my complaint?

In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement, we do not anticipate any change to how the Financial Ombudsman Service handles your complaint. We will be able to continue looking at your complaint as we were before.

I haven’t made a complaint yet but the company is established in the EEA, can I still complain after Brexit about something that happened before Brexit?

Yes, if we were able to look at a complaint before Brexit we will still be able to look at it afterwards, even if the business is established in the EU. Depending on the circumstances, enforcement of decisions through the courts (if necessary) may be more difficult. Some EEA businesses were not in our jurisdiction before Brexit though so you may need to check.

I’m a customer of a company established in the EU, what if I want to complain after Brexit about something that happens after Brexit?

This will depend on the circumstances. If the business is operating in the UK it should have joined the FCA’s Temporary Permissions Regime or be part of the Financial Services Contracts Regime. If it has joined the TPR, then customers will be able to refer complaints to us. Businesses in the Financial Services Contract Regime that were previously in our jurisdiction should remain in our jurisdiction, but if we couldn’t look at complaints about these businesses before Brexit we will not be able to do so after it. More information about the Financial Services Contracts Regime is available on the FCA's website.

I am unsure if I can take a complaint to the ombudsman service – what should I do?

You can check with the business. If you are unsure, we would always recommend getting in contact with the ombudsman service to ask if we can help.

I’m thinking of taking out a product or service from an EU company after Brexit, will I be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service?

If an EEA firm is doing business in the UK then it will need to be part of the FCA’s Temporary Permissions Regime. Customers will be able to refer their complaints to us where it relates to something the business did or didn’t do after Brexit. There is more information about the TPR on the FCA website.

Will I be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme?

The FSCS has provided some information on their website.

Further information

If there is no withdrawal agreement and a financial business established in the EEA wants to continue to provide services to UK customers it can do so either through the temporary permissions regime (TPR) or through the financial services contracts regime. Businesses that join the TPR can carry out new business and will come under the jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service. Businesses that don’t join the TPR will be subject to the financial services contracts regime so that they can wind down their UK business in an orderly manner – either through supervised run-off or contractual run-off.

More details for consumers are available on the FCA’s website.

More details are also available from HM Treasury.

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