COMPLIANTS HANDLING POLICY
First Mortgage Services Ltd
First Mortgage Services Pty Ltd
Sanderson Weir, Barristers & Solicitors
Sanderson Weir Pty Ltd
Version Author Description of Version Date Completed
V1.0 Donna Handley Initial draft for distribution and 22 November 2006
V2.0 Donna Handley Amended 9th January 2008
V3.0 Donna Handley Amended 18th September
V4.0 Donna Handley Amended 24th September
V4.1 Chris Barry / Amended 10th March 2009
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Table of Contents
1. Objective 5
1.1 Commitment 5
1.2 Fairness 5
1.3 Resources 6
1.4 Visibility and Access 6
1.5 Assistance 6
1.6 Responsiveness 6
1.7 Charges 6
1.8 Remedies 6
1.9 Data Collection 6
1.10 Systemic and Recurring Problems 6
1.11 Accountability 7
1.12 Reviews 7
2. Defining a Complaint 7
3. Receiving a Complaint 7
3.1 Written Complaints ................................................................................ 7
3.2 Verbal Complaints ................................................................................. 8
4. Minimising Disputes 9
5. File Notes 9
6. Complaints Resolution Officer 10
7. Written Responses 11
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8. Remedies for Resolving Disputes 11
9. Complaints Register 12
10. Group Compliance 12
11. External Customer Improvement Suggestions 12
12. Employee Improvement Suggestions 13
13. Disputes 13
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First Mortgage Services Limited (FMS) is a mortgage processing company who, in
association with Sanderson Weir provide mortgage services to a number of clients in the
NZ and Australian market.
Sanderson Weir is a law firm with a specialist interest in property and mortgage
transactions. The firm is a member of the New Zealand Law Society’s Property Law
Section, is a specialist adviser to the mortgage industry and a legal adviser to the New
Zealand Mortgage Brokers Association.
FMS policy is to promote the highest standard of service for our clients and to ensure
that all complaints are resolved in an efficient and professional manner in accordance
with our legal requirements and to ensure complainant satisfaction.
The purpose of this policy is to provide direction for staff as to how to manage
complaints in accordance with the Australian Standard AS 4269-1995 - Complaints
Our Complaints Handling Policy demonstrates:
We are committed to efficient and fair resolution of complaints by people in the
organisation at all levels, including the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors.
We acknowledge consumers’ rights to complain and actively solicit feedback from
We recognise the need to be fair to both the complainant and the operations team or
person against whom the complaint is made.
The complaints process must be fair to both the complainant and the person or
operations team against whom the complaint is made. All complaints should be treated
as legitimate and investigated without prejudice. Complainants and respondents should
be afforded natural justice throughout the complaint process. Natural justice involves
the following processes.
The complainant has the right to:
Know whether the organisation’s relevant product and service guidelines have
Provide and request all relevant material to support the complaint.
Be informed of the criteria and process, including the avenues for further review,
applied by the organisation dealing with complaints.
Be informed of the response of the person or organisation complained of.
Be informed of the organisation’s decision and the reasons for that decision.
Know that the complaint is being reviewed independently where possible.
Confidentiality, if requested.
The person or operations team about whom the complaint is made shall have the right
Know all the allegations in relation to their behaviour.
Have a full opportunity to put their case.
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Amass sufficient detail about the complaint to enable that person or operations
team to properly investigate and respond to the complaint.
Place all relevant material before the person investigating the complaint.
Be informed of the decision and the reason for the decision.
All parties to the complaint must have the right to:
Have all relevant submissions and evidence considered.
Not have matters which are not relevant taken into account.
Have a decision-maker who will be fair and just.
We have adequate resources for complaints handling with sufficient levels of delegated
authority. We further identify the need for complaints to be reviewed by someone in an
independent position (i.e. someone who was not involved in the matter complained
1.4Visibility and Access
Our complaints handling process will be available on our website for our complainants
and all staff can assess this policy on our Intranet. The complaints handling process and
supporting information is easy to understand and is in plain language.
We will offer assistance to complainants in the formulation and lodgement of complaints.
Where a complaint is lodged by a person with limited English skills, it is highly
recommended that staff evaluate the need for an independent interpreter, particularly in
relation to more serious complaints. An independent and qualified interpreter will assist
in ensuring accurate translations.
Complaints shall be dealt with quickly and the complainants shall be treated courteously.
Timeframes for the resolution of complaints are set out in this policy.
There will be no charge to the complainant, to lodge a complaint, subject to statutory
Our Complaints Handling Policy has the capacity to determine and implement remedies.
A Complaints Register will be kept to record complaints and outcomes. The records of
complaints will be retained with restricted access where possible for reasons of
1.10 Systemic and Recurring Problems
Complaints shall be classified and analysed for the identification and rectification of
systemic and recurring problems.
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We have appropriate reporting on the operation of the complaints handling process
against documented performance standards.
Our Complaints Handling Policy will be reviewed annually to ensure the continuing
effectiveness of the process.
2. Defining a Complaint
Complaints that must be recorded under this policy may constitute, but are not limited
to, the following:
Where the complainant has suffered financial loss as a result of a failure on the
part of the firm in the provision of a product and/or service pursuant to a
Failure to provide appropriate advice/information.
Failure to meet customer protection standards or codes of conduct.
Breach of agreed service standards.
Complaints received by FMS which result from the actions of a client or third party will
not be recorded and dealt with under this policy.
Items which fall outside of the above criteria will be handled as a grievance and will be
recorded separately by the Manager. This grievance will not be entered as a complaint
or dealt with under this policy. Grievances can generally be resolved immediately or
within 24 hours.
3. Receiving a Complaint
Complaints defined under item 2 above are to be recorded as outlined in this Policy. It is
preferable that complaints are received in writing (including email, facsimile and letter).
Verbal complaints will be accepted under this policy provided they come under the
definition of a complaint under item 2.
The written complaint should clearly state:
The exact dissatisfaction with the product/service.
Any financial loss incurred.
This letter should be marked Private and Confidential and addressed to:
The Complaints Resolution Officer
P O Box 856
The Complaints Resolution Officer
First Mortgage Services Pty Limited
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Locked Bag 13, Collins Street East,
Melbourne VIC 8003
When a written complaint is received by an employee/Manager, the letter will be
immediately handed to the Complaints Resolution Officer along with the matter file
(where applicable) for initial assessment and resolution and/or action where required.
Where possible it is desirable that complaints are submitted in writing by the
complainant. Should the complainant not wish to comply with this request, then the
following process will be followed.
Always establish the identity of the caller and whether this is the client or some
other person. (If the caller is not the client, you will require the permission of the
client to discuss the matter. In these cases please refer the matter directly to the
Client Resolution Officer).
Identify yourself, listen, record details and determine what the complainant
Confirm the details received.
Empathise with the complainant in a courteous manner.
always refer to your Manager or the Client Resolution Officer for guidance on
resolving the complaint.
Explain the courses of action available.
Do not attempt to lay blame or be defensive.
Resolve the complaint if possible or commit to doing something immediately,
irrespective of who will ultimately handle the complaint.
The Complaints Resolution Officer must approve remedies before being offered to
Ensure that the complainant is informed and the complainant is receiving
attention, without creating false expectations i.e. give a realistic timeframe for
Check whether the complainant is satisfied with the proposed action and, if not,
advise alternative courses of action.
Summarise your understanding of the situation.
Complete a file note or a Complaints Entry Form.
If the complaint is resolved:
Forward a copy of the file note or a Complaints Entry Form to your Manager who
must enter the complaint into the Complaints Register.
If the complaint remains un-resolved:
Advise the complainant that the complaint will be forwarded to the Complaints
Resolution Officer and they will be contacted within 24 hours.
Provide details of the Complaints Resolution Officer to the complainant for future
The Manager must ensure that the file is handed to the Complaints Resolution
Officer along with a Complaints Entry Form and any relevant file notes, copies of
any relevant documents/correspondence for assessment and resolution and/or
action where required.
The Complaints Resolution Officer will have the responsibility of entering the
complaint into the client Complaints Register.
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4. Minimising Disputes
Handling a difficult complainant needs patience and skill to avoid an initial “negative”
situation becoming even more negative and degenerating into a dispute.
The two main elements in a complaint situation that need to be effectively handled to
minimise the likelihood of disputes are:
4.1Dealing with the complaint’s feelings
Listen – this is the first step in reducing the tension.
Acknowledge the complaint’s feelings – denying the complainant is, or has the
right to be upset may antagonise the complainant.
Empathise – relieves tension and so opens channels of communication.
Do not offer excuses, or argue with the complainant.
4.2Dealing with the specifics of the complaint
Ask the necessary questions in a polite and even-handed manner – to obtain the
most detailed response.
Agree on a solution – without appearing to dictate terms in order to avoid the
likelihood of re-raising tension.
Set a timetable.
Take action on the agreed solution.
5. File Notes
A file note must always be made to record any conversation. The file note must record
the following information:
The date and time of the telephone conversation.
The names of the parties i.e. complainant name and borrower name.
The persons involved in the call and the organisation they represent.
Details of the complaint.
What the resolution was.
Any recommendations for service improvements put forward by the complainant.
Remember files notes should be written in a professional and factual manner including
all pertinent information discussed, as this information may be required in the event of
further action. File notes should be stored in the client’s correspondence file with a copy
in the centralised complaints folder.
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6. Complaints Resolution Officer
The FMS Complaints Resolution Officers are:
Name: Donna Handley
Telephone: + 64 9 3062 275
Postal Address: P O Box 856, Auckland
Physical Address: Level 13, AA Centre, 99 Albert Street, Auckland
Name: Bruce Walker
Telephone: + 61 3 9935 9737
Postal Address: Locked Bag 13, Collins St East, Victoria, 8003, Australia
Physical Address: Level 6, Exhibition Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000
6.1The Responsibility of the Complaints Resolution Officer
The Complaints Resolution Officer must send a letter to the complainant within 24
hours of receipt of the complaint assuring earliest attention and that an
investigation is underway.
The complaint must be resolved with 3 business days where practical.
Where the complaint cannot be resolved within 3 business days, the complainant
must be contacted and the delay explained. In any event, the complaint must be
resolved within 7 days from the date of receipt of the complaint.
The complainant must be informed of the criteria and process, including the
avenues for further review, applied by the Firm in dealing with complaints.
Explain their rights to them and be patient and courteous.
Ensure that the complainant is familiar with the complaints procedure. The
complainant is entitled to receive a copy of our complaints handling procedure
should they request it or if they are unfamiliar with the process.
The complainant must be advised that they have a right to be heard and supply
material in support of their complaint, if they desire.
The complaint details for each complaint must be kept on the matter file or in the
absence of a matter file a complaints file must be opened. The file must contain
at least the following information:
Copies of background data e.g. all correspondence.
File notes of interviews with relevant staff.
Copies of all correspondence sent to the client in relation to the complaint.
File notes of all telephone conversations with the client and the Firm.
Action plan to resolve the complaint.
The Complaints Resolution Officer must contact the relevant employees, and
request a written report from each one.
The Complaints Resolution Officer must arrange a meeting with the relevant
employees and team leader to discuss the complaint and develop an immediate
action plan to resolve it.
Where possible, complaints should be reviewed by someone in an independent
position (e.g. someone who has not been involved in the matter complained
about). Ideally, if the complaint is about the quality of advice or service or the
appropriateness of the advice, the person to independently review the complaint
should be the Compliance Manager, due to the technical nature of the advice
When responding to the complainant’s complaint, the following must be included:
Reason for the decision.
Address the issue raised in the initial complaint.
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Refer to applicable provisions in legislation, codes, standards or
Advise the complainant that if they are not satisfied with the outcome of
their compliant, they may refer their complaint to the Chief Executive
A copy of the response to the complainant must be given to the relevant
The Complaints Resolution Officer should, at all times, keep the complainant
informed in writing of what is happening. Wherever possible, try to keep to a
timetable and, if there are any delays, advise the complainant promptly in writing
and inform them of when they can expect to hear additional information.
The Complaints Resolution Officer will assess the complaint and recommend a
course of action having regard to the guidelines documented in this policy,
including investigation of the complaint and the steps taken towards the
resolution of the issue.
The recommendation from the Complaints Resolution Officer is reviewed by the
Chief Executive Officer for approval.
7. Written Responses
A written response should be provided when a complainant has requested for written
confirmation, we have received the complaint in writing or the resolution is complex.
The written response should include the following information:
Acknowledgment of his/her complaint, if this is the first contact.
Confirmation of details received.
Statement of our legal/policy position.
Course of action/remedies available.
Commitment to doing something immediately, irrespective of who will ultimately
handle the complaint.
Inform the complainant their complaint is receiving attention, without creating
false expectations i.e. give a realistic timeframe for resolution.
Request advice from the complainant as to whether they are satisfied with the
The written response must be signed or approved by the Client Resolution Officer.
8. Remedies for Resolving Disputes
Possible remedies available to the Complaints Resolution Officer for resolving disputes in
include the following. The Chief Executive Officer must approve all financial remedies
above $200.00 before being offered to the complainant.
Provision of free services
Reduction or refund of fees paid
Disciplinary action against employee
Goodwill gift or token
In dealing with a complaint, ensure the company addresses all aspects of the complaint;
follow up where appropriate and; whether it is appropriate to offer remedies to others
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who may have suffered in the same way as the complainant but did not make a formal
It is the responsibility of the Complaints Resolution Officer to report the dispute to the
Chief Executive Officer if appropriate.
9. Complaints Register
The Complaints Resolution Officer must maintain the Complaints Register. Complaints
must be kept on the register for 7 years. Every complaint must be recorded on the
9.2Information to be recorded in the Complaints Register
The following information must be recorded:
Date of the complaint.
The name of the lender.
The name of the person making the complaint.
Circumstances giving rise to the complaint.
Action taken/status including date.
Resulting internal actions i.e. service improvements/training.
Recommendations for process improvements.
10. Group Compliance
It is the responsibility of Group Compliance to:
Notify our professional indemnity insurer of the dispute if applicable.
Review the Complaints Register on a monthly basis for the purpose of providing
analysis to the Executive Committee on systemic and recurring problems. This
analysis will assist the company to determine the cause of complaints and
whether remedial action is warranted. As stated in AS 4269-1995 (Clause 3.2)
the aggregated data can be used to:
Redesign products and services.
Change organisational practices and procedures.
Retrain staff on product and service redelivery.
Re-assess consumer information needs; eg labelling/instructions.
Assess the performance of after-sales service.
Give early warning about potential product and service defects.
11. External Customer Improvement Suggestions
Where a complainant puts forward ideas for improvement of services or processes these
should be notified to the Manager who will record any ideas for improvements in the
Complaints Register as an innovation suggestion.
By recording complainant recommendations we have a mechanism of tracking what the
people we deal with are asking for. Monitoring of this feedback is one of the best ways
to improve the products and services provided.
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12. Employee Improvement Suggestions
Where an employee wishes to put forward their own ideas for improvement of services or
processes these should be notified to their Manager who will record any ideas for
improvements in the Complaints Register as an innovation suggestion.
If you do not believe that your complaint has been satisfactorily managed or responded
to, your concerns can be escalated for review. In these circumstances, your concerns
should be referred to the Chief Executive Officer. In reviewing the actions of the
Complaints Resolution Officer, consideration will be given to the management of your
initial complaint and the outcome achieved.
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