Complaints against members and CII Chartered firms
The CII takes all complaints seriously and, where these occur, follows internal rules laid out in
Where a member (or an examination candidate) is disciplined a notice will be posted on the CII website and in the Journal and/or Personal Finance Professional magazines except in exceptional circumstances.
The sanctions available, under the CII Disciplinary Scheme, apply to members of the CII and some non-members (for example, examination entrants) who have agreed to be bound by the Laws of the CII (defined as the Charter, Bye-laws, Regulations, Codes and other requirements of the CII).
All CII members commit to upholding professional standards when they join the CII. The CII’s Code of Ethics sets out principles which members are expected to follow.
Non-members taking CII examinations or assessments are also obliged to adhere to the rules set out for those services.
As the CII is committed to professionalism, misconduct is viewed very seriously because it reflects badly on the Institute and its membership. Sanctions handed down by the Disciplinary Committee or CII case examiner may include:
- Designation and Chartered title being removed
- Requirement to take the CII online ethics course
- Bans from taking examinations for a specified period
- Publication of details of the case
- Expulsion or suspension from membership
The CII considers each complaint on its own merits before deciding whether to investigate further. If we decide we cannot pursue a complaint it will be because it is not practical or justified. The CII’s internal policies prevent the CII from investigating complaints where 12 months have passed since the events complained of took place or since the complainant became (or should reasonably have been) made aware that the events complained of took place. Other examples of complaints which are unlikely to be taken forward are:
- Where members cannot be identified
- Where complaints are made with the primary intention of causing annoyance, or embarrassment or are of a vexatious or frivolous nature
- Where sufficient evidence is not available
- Where the scope of the complaint falls within the remit of the regulatory authorities (e.g. the Financial Conduct Authority or the Financial Ombudsman Service in the UK) or the courts
If we cannot investigate a complaint we will write to you explaining why and, where possible, advise of an alternative route of complaint.
How to make a complaint
To make a complaint use the Complaints against members form (PDF), and email it to either email@example.com or post to: Legal and Secretariat Department, Chartered Insurance Institute, 1st Floor, 21 Lombard Street, London, EC3V 9AH.
Please note that:
- The CII has no authority to impose an order for financial award (including compensation) to the complainant in any circumstances. If you require financial redress you will need to submit your complaint to the relevant regulator and/or consider a claim against the other party’s professional indemnity insurance where appropriate.
- Making a complaint against a CII member is not a substitute for taking legal action where appropriate. If a complaint is currently or likely to be before the courts then the complaint will be stayed pending the determination of the courts. Please note that if there are no findings that the member has acted inappropriately, we will not be able to progress your complaint.
- If the complaint is being investigated by any other professional or regulatory body or other tribunal, then the CII will stay the complaint pending the determination of the other proceedings.
- Not all errors made by a member will necessarily imply a breach of the Code of Ethics or lead to disciplinary action. Disciplinary action may be appropriate, however, where errors are of a significant volume to indicate a possible lack of professional competence.
- If a member has given advice which, in hindsight, turns out to have been flawed, and as a result of which you have suffered loss, this is a matter for their or their firm’s professional indemnity insurers and you may need to seek legal advice on this.
- Before the CII can consider your complaint, the member should have been given an opportunity to resolve the matter through their internal complaints procedures where appropriate. If you have not given the member the opportunity to rectify the issues, please provide details as to why you have not done so at the time of submission of your complaint for consideration.
Please note that the CII is not the appropriate forum to make technical determinations with regard to any advice given. This is an issue for the courts or the appropriate regulator.
Investigation and disciplinary process
An acknowledgement will be despatched to you within 10 business days of the CII receiving a complaint.
All complaints made in good faith are considered, in the first instance, by a case investigator. The case investigator will make any further enquiries deemed appropriate before submitting the complaint to the case examiner, a person appointed by the CII, to determine complaints. If there is prima facie evidence (a good indication) a member or student has breached the CII Code of Ethics or the Laws of the CII, the matter may be referred to a panel of the Disciplinary Committee, or in certain circumstances, may be determined by the case examiner either by way of a Consensual Order agreed with the respondent, or by way of sanctions imposed by the case examiner in lieu of a formal disciplinary hearing.
If the respondent does not agree with the terms of the Consensual Order proposed or wishes to appeal the sanctions imposed by the proposed case examiner, their case will be referred to a Disciplinary Panel.
If the case examiner decides that a hearing before the panel is necessary this will be convened and the Disciplinary Panel will decide what, if any, sanctions are appropriate.
Due to the different nature and complexity of the complaints received by the CII, it is not possible to provide a timescale for the completion of complaints. It is of paramount importance that any complaint that goes before the case examiner has been thoroughly investigated and all relevant lines of enquiry are followed up to ensure that the process is fair to both the Complainant, Respondent and CII’s stakeholders.
Process for disciplinary hearings
If a decision is taken to proceed to a hearing of the Disciplinary Committee, the complainant and the respondent (the member or non-member who is the subject of a complaint) will be notified in writing at least 20 business days before the hearing.
The CII will always attempt to give as much prior notice as possible. Copies of all documents, statements and other evidence on which the CII intends to rely will also be sent to the respondent.
The respondent will be invited to submit any evidence on which he/she intends to rely and must also advise the CII whether he/she intends to attend, be legally represented or call witnesses no later than 10 business days before the hearing.
In all complaints before the Disciplinary Panel, the respondent is entitled to attend the hearing, speak in his/her defence and/or cross examine the witness(es). The decision of the Disciplinary Panel will be notified in writing to the complainant and the respondent.
The respondent has a right to appeal within 15 business days of receipt of the decision. The Disciplinary Panel is drawn from members of the Disciplinary Committee. The committee consists of qualified members of the CII and lay people.
The panel must comprise at least three members of the Disciplinary Committee, one of whom must be a lay person. The Chair of the Committee is both lay and legally qualified.
A respondent can appeal against the decision of the Disciplinary Panel if they are of the opinion that the decision of the Disciplinary Panel was:
- Based on an error of law or fact or was unreasonable exercise of its discretion
- Unjust because of a serious procedural error or irregularity or that new evidence has become available
- Too severe
An appeal will be referred to a panel of the Appeal Committee who can uphold, amend or reject the decision of the Disciplinary Panel.
There is no further right of appeal within the CII. Members of the Appeal Panel are drawn from the Appeal Committee.
The Appeal Committee consists of qualified members of the CII, legally qualified people and lay people. The Appeal Panel must comprise at least three individuals from the Appeal Committee and must include someone who is legally qualified, a lay person and a qualified member of the CII.
Building and enhancing professionalism is at the core of the Chartered ethos and for this reason all CII Chartered firms must meet a rigorous set of eligibility criteria to obtain their Chartered title. This is designed to ensure that these firms demonstrate an ongoing commitment to high standards and a customer-centric focus, two factors which are key in building public trust in the insurance and personal finance professions. If you believe that a chartered firm’s behaviour is not aligned to the chartered standards and criteria and wish to raise these concerns, please email complaintsagainstCCSfirms@cii.co.uk and we will respond to you within 5 working days.
There are certain types of complaint that we can deal with and others which would need to go through a more appropriate body. Please find some examples below to assist you:
Complaints against CCS firms which the CII is able to assist with:
- You believe that a firm holding itself out as a CII Chartered firm is not actually CII Chartered
- You believe that a Chartered firm does not meet one or more of the required eligibility criteria or it is not adhering to the CCS rules/terms and conditions
- You have become aware of regulatory or legal action taken against a Chartered firm and wish to notify the CII
- Any misuse and/or potentially misleading use of CII logos or branding
Complaints which the CII cannot assist with:
- Issues with service provided by a Chartered firm
- Claims disputes
- Ongoing litigation (which has not been concluded)
- Complaints that are currently with or have been not been upheld by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
If your complaint falls within the first category, please email the details to complaintsagainstCCSfirms@cii.co.uk and we will respond to you within 5 working days.
If you are unsure whether the CII is the right point of contact for your complaint, please feel free to contact us for guidance.