FSA fines Sesame for SCARP complaint-handling failures

LONDON – The UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined financial adviser Sesame £330,000, for failing to treat its customers fairly.

Identified as part of the FSA's thematic review of Structured Capital At Risk Products (Scarp), the regulator found that Sesame was not handling complaints adequately. The company incorrectly rejected complaints from approximately 350 customers relating to sales made by Sesame's legacy networks between March 2003 and October 2004.

These customers had lost nearly £5.9 million in total.

The FSA had already issued a number of publications concerning both Scarps and complaint-handling, which highlighted the need for firms to implement and maintain robust complaint-handling procedures and to train staff adequately.

Once the problems were identified by the FSA, Sesame took prompt action to ensure all affected customers were compensated, and engaged external advisers to review its Scarps complaint-handling procedures and to train its staff.

Without Sesame's co-operation and commitment to mitigation and remedial action, the penalty levied would have been substantially higher.

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