HSBC payments

Nicholas Wilson made this Freedom of Information request to The Financial Conduct Authority

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The request was refused by The Financial Conduct Authority.

Dear The Financial Conduct Authority,

Recently HSBC has been sending letters to customers with the following wording...

"We've reviewed the quality of service that you received by our Collections and/or Recoveries team and we've identified that it did not meet the standard we would expect. We're therefore making a payment to you to compensate for the experience.

The payment due to you is £25 [per account]. A cheque for this amount is attached."

The letter gives no other details of where HSBC fell short of their "standards".

Please provide details of any investigation or inquiry you have carried out in relation to HSBC's collections and/or recoveries practices which has led to this compensation payment.
Please provide any information on why the FCA has not made a public statement concerning any redress scheme, as would be normal.

Yours faithfully,
Nicholas Wilson

Freedom of Information, The Financial Conduct Authority

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is registered as a limited company
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The Payment Systems Regulator Limited is registered as a limited company
in England and Wales No. 8970864. Registered office: 12 Endeavour Square,
Stratford, London, E20 1JN, United Kingdom

Switchboard 020 7066 1000

Web Site http://www.fca.org.uk (FCA); http://www.psr.org.uk (the Payment
Systems Regulator Limited)

Freedom of Information, The Financial Conduct Authority

3 Attachments

Our ref: FOI7863

 

Dear Mr Wilson,

 

We refer to your email dated 4 December 2020 received under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA).  We are sorry to inform you that we are still
processing your request for information and therefore will not be in a
position to answer it by today’s deadline.

 

We will endeavour to respond by 15 January 2021, though should we be in a
position to respond sooner, we will do so.

 

In the meantime, we thank you for your understanding and patience.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Information Disclosure Team / Cyber and Information Resilience Department
/ Operations

[1]Description: cid:image001.png@01D2A7C9.64DDD390

12 Endeavour Square

London

E20 1JN

 

[2]www.fca.org.uk

 

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This communication and any attachments may contain personal information.
For more information about how and why we use personal information and who
to contact with any queries about this, please see our privacy notices:
FCA Privacy Notice (https://www.fca.org.uk/data-protection) and PSR
Privacy Notice
(https://www.psr.org.uk/cookies-privacy-a...).

This communication and any attachments contain information which is
confidential and may be subject to legal privilege. It is for intended
recipients only. If you are not the intended recipient you must not copy,
distribute, publish, rely on or otherwise use it without our consent. Some
of our communications may contain confidential information which it could
be a criminal offence for you to disclose or use without authority. If you
have received this email in error please notify [email address]
immediately and delete the email from your computer. Further information
on the classification and handling of FCA information can be found on the
FCA website
(http://www.fca.org.uk/site-info/legal/fc...).

The FCA (or, if this email originates from the Payment Systems Regulator
Limited, the FCA on behalf of the Payment Systems Regulator Limited / the
Payment Systems Regulator Limited) reserves the right to monitor all email
communications for compliance with legal, regulatory and professional
standards.

This email is not intended to nor should it be taken to create any legal
relations or contractual relationships. This email has originated from the
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or the Payment Systems Regulator
Limited.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is registered as a limited company
in England and Wales No. 1920623. Registered office: 12 Endeavour Square,
Stratford, London, E20 1JN, United Kingdom

The Payment Systems Regulator Limited is registered as a limited company
in England and Wales No. 8970864. Registered office: 12 Endeavour Square,
Stratford, London, E20 1JN, United Kingdom

Switchboard 020 7066 1000

Web Site http://www.fca.org.uk (FCA); http://www.psr.org.uk (the Payment
Systems Regulator Limited)

References

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3. https://twitter.com/TheFCA
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Freedom of Information, The Financial Conduct Authority

3 Attachments

Our ref: FOI7863

 

Dear Mr Wilson

 

Freedom of Information: Right to know request

 

Thank you for your email of 4 December 2020, about any investigations or
inquiries carried out in relation to [named bank] collections and/or
recoveries practices which have led to compensation payments. For full
details please see Annex A.

 

We have processed your email in line with the provisions of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and apologise for the delay in responding.

 

Our decision on your request

 

We have now considered your request.  We can neither confirm nor deny
whether we hold the information you have requested.

 

Having considered the public interest test, our decision is that to
confirm or deny whether we hold the information you are seeking could
prejudice the exercise by the FCA of its functions for certain purposes
(as set out below).

 

Under section 31 (Law enforcement) of FOIA, in assessing where the balance
of the public interest lies, we cannot confirm or deny whether we hold any
relevant information.

 

Further, our decision is that to confirm or deny whether we hold the
information you are seeking would, or would be likely to, prejudice the
commercial interests of the [named firm].

 

Under section 43 (Commercial interests) of FOIA, in assessing where the
balance of the public interest lies, we cannot confirm or deny whether we
hold any relevant information.

 

For a detailed explanation of the factors for and against confirming or
denying whether we hold the information, please see Annex B.

 

In addition, any information we may hold would be the business affairs of
the firm mentioned while undertaking our regulatory functions under the
Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA).

 

Section 348 of FSMA prevents us from disclosing ‘confidential information’
we have received except in certain limited circumstances (none of which
would apply here).  Under section 44 (Prohibitions on disclosure) of FOIA
we cannot confirm or deny whether we hold information as this would be
disclosing ‘confidential information’.

 

For a detailed explanation of this, please see Annex B.

 

As we can neither confirm nor deny whether any investigations or inquiries
have been carried out the response to Q2 falls away. Please note however
that it is not standard practice to provide a public statement for every
voluntary redress activity undertaken by a firm. Where a statement is
made, this is usually by exception in certain circumstances where this is
deemed appropriate and in the public interest.  

 

Your right to complain under FOIA

 

If you are unhappy with this response, you have the right to request an
internal review.  To do so, please contact us within 40 working days of
the date of this response at [1][email address].

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you also
have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner by phone or on
their website at:

 

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Website: [2]www.ico.org.uk

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Information Disclosure Team / Cyber and Information Resilience Department
/ Operations

[3]Description: cid:image001.png@01D2A7C9.64DDD390

12 Endeavour Square

London

E20 1JN

 

[4]www.fca.org.uk

 

Follow us:

 

[5]Description: https://g.twimg.com/Twitter_logo_blue.pn...
image003

 

 

 

 

Annex A

 

Recently [named Bank] has been sending letters to customers with the
following wording...

 

"We've reviewed the quality of service that you received by our
Collections and/or Recoveries team and we've identified that it did not
meet the standard we would expect. We're therefore making a payment to you
to compensate for the experience.

 

The payment due to you is £25 [per account]. A cheque for this amount is
attached."

 

The letter gives no other details of where [named Bank] fell short of
their "standards".

 

Q1. Please provide details of any investigation or inquiry you have
carried out in relation to [named Bank] collections and/or recoveries
practices which has led to this compensation payment.

Q2. Please provide any information on why the FCA has not made a public
statement concerning any redress scheme, as would be normal.

 

 

 

 

Annex B

 

General right of access to information held by public authorities

 

Anyone requesting information from a public authority is entitled to be
informed in writing whether it holds the information described (this is
under section 1(1)(a) of FOIA).  If the public authority does hold it, the
person requesting it is entitled to have the information communicated to
them, under section 1(1)(b).  However, there are exclusions and exemptions
to these rights.

 

 

Section 31 (Law enforcement)

 

We do not have to confirm or deny if, or to the extent that, doing so
would or would be likely to prejudice how we exercise our functions for
any of the purposes specified in section 31(2).

 

In particular, we believe that section 31(2), sub-section (c) is engaged
in that disclosure of whether or not we were taking any action about a
particular matter, or into any firm or individual person and any
information relating to the same, would be likely to prejudice the purpose
of ascertaining whether circumstances which would justify any regulatory
action in pursuance of any enactment exist or may arise.

 

Section 31 is a ‘qualified exemption’ so we have balanced the public
interest for and against confirmation/denial, as required by FOIA.

 

Against maintaining the exclusion (i.e. for confirming or denying):

 

o There is a strong public interest in favour of transparency, and the
public being aware of any enquiries, considerations or actions we may
(or may not) be taking in relation to the markets and/or firms and/or
individuals who are, or may be, operating in the financial services
industry.

·          There is a strong public interest in favour of transparency and
the public being reassured about the effectiveness of our regulatory
approach.

 

·          Disclosing the information (if it exists) would demonstrate how
we respond to matters arising in the sector we regulate. It would also
enable stakeholders (including regulated firms) to better understand why
and how we make decisions on regulatory matters.

 

 

For maintaining the exclusion (i.e. not confirming or denying):

 

·        There is a strong public interest in the FCA being able to carry
out its functions, and in the most effective manner possible.

 

·        Confirmation or denial that we hold information falling within
the scope of the request, has the potential to mislead and prejudice the
financial markets and consumers, because either misconduct or a clean bill
of health may be inferred incorrectly from the mere fact that we hold or
do not hold information falling within the scope of the request.

 

·        This could also lead to widespread speculation which could hinder
and prejudice the progress of any current and/or future FCA enquiries,
considerations and/or action.  It could also affect the brand and
reputation of the market in the absence of due process having been
followed - i.e. in the absence of any formal public announcement and
without the market having had the opportunity to comment.

 

 

Having balanced the public interest for and against, in this case, in we
think the public interest lies in favour of maintaining the exclusion for
the reasons set out above.

 

 

 

Section 43 (Commercial interests)

 

We do not have to confirm or deny we have any such information if, or to
the extent that, doing so would, or would be likely to, prejudice the
commercial interests of any person or a firm (including the public
authority holding it) mentioned in section 43(2).

 

Section 43 is a qualified exemption so we have to balance the public
interest for and against confirmation/denial.

 

Against maintaining the exclusion (i.e. for confirming/denying we have the
information)

 

•      There is a strong public interest in favour of transparency, and
the public being aware of any potential enquiries, considerations or
actions in relation to the markets and/or firms and/or individuals who
are, or may be, operating in the financial services industry.

 

•      Disclosing the information (if it were to exist) would reassure the
public about the effectiveness of our regulatory approach. It would also
demonstrate how we respond to matters in the sector we regulate.

 

•      Disclosure would also give consumer information (if it were to
exist) to help them make decisions about their dealings or potential
dealings with the markets, firms and individuals that are, or may be,
operating in the financial services industry.

 

In favour of maintaining the exclusion of the duty to confirm or deny
(i.e. against confirming/denying we have the information)

 

•         Were it to be the case (which we cannot confirm or deny) that we
hold any information relevant to your request, a confirmation that this
was the case could lead to unfair or unjustified adverse comment and
speculation about the firm.  This could affect its brand and reputation. 
Any loss of confidence can have serious, adverse consequences for a firm
and its stakeholders, including employees, investors and creditors.

 

•         Further, confirmation or denial that we hold information falling
within the scope of the request has the potential to mislead and prejudice
the financial markets and consumers, because either misconduct or a clean
bill of health may be inferred incorrectly from the mere fact that we hold
or do not hold information falling within the scope of the request.

 

 

·               If we did hold any of the information requested,
confirming this was the case could lead to unfair or unjustified adverse
comment and speculation about the person/ and or firm.  This could affect
their brand and reputation if due process was not followed - i.e. no
formal finding of misconduct and without the person/ or firm having had
the opportunity to comment.  Any loss of confidence can have serious,
adverse consequences for a firm and its stakeholders, including employees,
investors and creditors, and/or for an individual.

 

·               It’s not in the public interest to undermine legitimate
commercial interests of firms and individuals until there is a formal
finding of misconduct. This would follow a full investigation and we are
allowed to make details of that public under FSMA.

 

Overall, we are satisfied that the balance of the public interest in this
case comes down in favour of maintaining the exclusion under section 43(3)
of FSMA. So we will neither confirm nor deny that we hold any information
that falls within the scope of your request.

 

 

 

Section 44 (Prohibitions on disclosure)

 

 

Section 44 FOIA is an absolute exemption which means that if it is
engaged, a weighing of the public interest for and against maintaining the
exclusion of the duty to confirm or deny whether the information is held
by a public authority is not required.

 

A public authority does not have to confirm or deny whether it holds the
information requested if the confirmation or denial is itself prohibited
under another Act from FOIA.

 

Section 348 of FSMA prevents us from disclosing ‘confidential information’
we have received except in certain limited circumstances (none of which
would apply here).

 

By ‘confidential information’ we mean:

 

·               non-public and non-anonymised information which relates to
the business or other affairs of any person;

·               and which the FCA received for the purposes of, or in the
discharge of, its functions under FSMA.

 

If we held information falling within the scope of your request (which we
do not confirm or deny) it would be ‘confidential information’ which was
received by the FCA in the discharge of its functions under FSMA. 
Disclosing such ‘confidential information’, without the consent of the
provider of the information – and, if different, the consent of the person
the information relates to – would breach section 348 of FSMA and would be
a criminal offence.

 

 

 

 

 

This communication and any attachments may contain personal information.
For more information about how and why we use personal information and who
to contact with any queries about this, please see our privacy notices:
FCA Privacy Notice (https://www.fca.org.uk/data-protection) and PSR
Privacy Notice
(https://www.psr.org.uk/cookies-privacy-a...).

This communication and any attachments contain information which is
confidential and may be subject to legal privilege. It is for intended
recipients only. If you are not the intended recipient you must not copy,
distribute, publish, rely on or otherwise use it without our consent. Some
of our communications may contain confidential information which it could
be a criminal offence for you to disclose or use without authority. If you
have received this email in error please notify [email address]
immediately and delete the email from your computer. Further information
on the classification and handling of FCA information can be found on the
FCA website
(http://www.fca.org.uk/site-info/legal/fc...).

The FCA (or, if this email originates from the Payment Systems Regulator
Limited, the FCA on behalf of the Payment Systems Regulator Limited / the
Payment Systems Regulator Limited) reserves the right to monitor all email
communications for compliance with legal, regulatory and professional
standards.

This email is not intended to nor should it be taken to create any legal
relations or contractual relationships. This email has originated from the
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or the Payment Systems Regulator
Limited.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is registered as a limited company
in England and Wales No. 1920623. Registered office: 12 Endeavour Square,
Stratford, London, E20 1JN, United Kingdom

The Payment Systems Regulator Limited is registered as a limited company
in England and Wales No. 8970864. Registered office: 12 Endeavour Square,
Stratford, London, E20 1JN, United Kingdom

Switchboard 020 7066 1000

Web Site http://www.fca.org.uk (FCA); http://www.psr.org.uk (the Payment
Systems Regulator Limited)

References

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2. http://www.ico.org.uk/
4. http://www.fca.org.uk/
5. https://twitter.com/TheFCA
6. https://www.linkedin.com/company/financi...