Institute of Financial Services launches updated complaints handling qualification

Data from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) shows that complaints made by consumers against financial services organisations continue to rise year-on-year. According to the Institute of Financial Services (ifs), this data demonstrates that the industry collectively needs to do more to support and communicate with its customers.

It is with this in mind that the ifs has launched an updated version of its Level-3 Certificate in Regulated Complaints Handling (CeRCH).

The qualification, which is designed for those who have responsibility for regulated complaints handling in retail financial services, has been updated to include new content that looks at protection products and their implications for the customer, including additional material relating to payment protection insurance (PPI).

CeRCH is the only specialist programme of study that specifically looks at responding and reducing complaints within retail financial services. It has two mandatory modules designed to provide customer-facing staff with the knowledge and understanding of the issues involved in the resolution of complaints.

ifs chief executive, Anne Kiem, said: ‘Formal education and professional qualifications have a vital role to play in improving culture and standards within the financial services industry and ultimately improving the quality of service offered to customers.

‘The inclusion of specialist content that concentrates on complaints arising from protection products recognises the impact that it continues to have on financial services bodies and has been specifically designed in direct response to calls from the industry. Alongside this, case studies within the course have been updated to include specific recent examples of where problems have arisen’

The launch of the updated qualification also coincides with the creation of a new online community for complaints handling professionals, designed to enable the dissemination of best practice within this area. Customer-facing staff are now able to join the Institute of Financial Services’ Regulated Complaints Handling LinkedIn group, where they can discuss relevant issues and topics.

Complaints handling professionals can register for the updated qualification at any time throughout the year. For more information, please visit