This section is prepared and published in accordance with the Investment Services Act – Chapter 330 of the Laws of Malta, The Conduct of Business Rules issued by the Malta Financial Services Authority (‘MFSA’), Appendix X – Complaints Handling of the MFSA Part BII: Rules applicable to Retail UCITS Collective Investment Schemes, the Arbiter for Financial Services Act and the guide adopted by the Arbiter for Financial Services. In addition to this Policy, Merill SICAV plc (‘Merill’ or ‘the SICAV’) has in place procedures documenting the process of complaints handling.
The SICAV strives to offer a professional, efficient, courteous and a welcoming service as well as to build long term relationships with its investors by being supportive at any time. This is complemented by encouraging its investors to give feedback on their experiences with the SICAV, which it may not always be positive.
This policy has been created to inform investors of the high value the SICAV gives to the relationship it has with its investors. Furthermore, this policy will also assist the SICAV to improve the service it offers to its investors by encouraging them to contact Merill if they believe that something has gone wrong or they feel dissatisfied with the service that they were offered.
3.1 What is a complaint?
A complaint is an oral or written expression or statement of dissatisfaction made by an investor or potential investor to the SICAV relating to a product offered.
3.2 Who may complain?
Any person or organisation may make a complaint arising out of, or in connection with, any product provided by the SICAV.
3.3 How to make a complaint?
We strongly suggest that complaints are resolved by discussing the issue with the respective representatives of the distributors of the SICAV, who originally carried out the transaction or with his/her immediate superior. Furthermore, if the response is not satisfactory, an investor may write directly to the SICAV, addressing the complaint to the Compliance Department of the SICAV. No charge will be incurred to the complainant for making a complaint.
3.4 Information to be included in a complaint
When lodging a complaint, an investor is requested to briefly explain all the facts regarding the issue raised and provide the SICAV with personal details (name, identification card number and contact details), complaint details (details of the distributor’s representative, date, name of contact person within the distributor and nature of the complaint) and any supporting documentation for the complaint. Complaints should be received in writing either by post or on the email address referred to below. An investor can also file a verbal complaint using the phone number provided below.
Ideally, in order to ensure that the SICAV has all the required information, the Investor Complaints Form
of the SICAV should be filled in with the respective details. Moreover, any official of the SICAV receiving a verbal complaint from a client, should prepare a summary of the complaint, listing all the details requested above and pass on to the Compliance Officer for further verification. The summary of the complaint will be then also passed on to the complainant to confirm the said summary.
4. Post-submission of a complaint
4.1 Acknowledgement of complaints
The SICAV is committed to acknowledge receipt of the complaint by a reply letter or email within seven (7) days of such receipt. At this point, the complainant will be also provided confirmation of the following:
● The details and information on the complaint will be assessed and investigated accordingly by the SICAV;
● Once the investigation is completed, the SICAV will promptly write to the complainant on the outcome of the investigation and describe its proposed course of action; and
● If the investigation is not completed within two (2) months of receipt of the complaint, the SICAV will get back to the complainant within seven (7) business days from the end of that period.
Further to the above, the complainant will be informed that he/she has a right to complain to the Office of the Arbiter for Financial Services if he/she is not satisfied with the progress of the investigation.
4.2 Response to a complaint
The SICAV deals with each complaint separately and in the most appropriate manner. When the investigation of a complaint is not completed within two months from receipt of the complaint, the SICAV will inform the complainant about the causes of the delay, and provide an indication as to when the investigation is likely to be completed. Should the SICAV require more time to investigate the issue, it will inform the complainant with the cause of the delay within seven (7) business days and the expected time of completion of the investigation.
5. Right of a complainant after the complaints process
If the response given by the SICAV is not considered satisfactory by the complainant, the latter may escalate the matter to the Arbiter for Financial Services in writing. Complaints to the Financial Services Arbiter can be made by completing the Complaint Form (in English or Maltese) and sending it to the Arbiter together with supporting documents and the applicable fee. It is advisable for complainants to seek advice before lodging the complaint.
The Arbiter for Financial Services can be contacted as follows:
Office of the Arbiter for Financial Services
St Calcedonius Square
Floriana FRN 1530
Freephone (local calls): 8007 2366
Telephone: (+356) 2124 9245
If the mediation has not been successful or has been refused, the Arbiter – who may be assisted by an investigator – will start investigating your complaint. The Arbiter will not have access to any information which might have been exchanged during mediation. Any person who the Arbiter may decide to appoint to assist him with the investigation into a complaint will exclude any person who was involved during mediation.
Decisions reached by the Arbiter may be subject to appeal by either party to the complaint. When no appeal is made by either party, the decision taken by the Arbiter becomes final and binding on all parties.
Where a complaint has been lodged with the Arbiter for Financial Services and the case has been decided, the SICAV will immediately inform the MFSA and provide the Authority with a copy of the Arbiter’s final decision. The SICAV is also required to notify the MFSA in the event that an appeal from the decision of the Arbiter is lodged by either of the parties as well as when the final decision by the Court has been decided.
6. Data Protection
7. Staff Competency
The SICAV will ensure that officials involved in the management of complaints are fully abreast with regulatory obligations. Additionally, the SICAV will provide officials with adequate training on the management of complaints.
8. Internal Flow of Information
The Compliance Officer will ensure that during every Risk and Regulatory Committee (‘RRC’) meeting information about any complaints received from investors or potential investors are communicated to the committee members. Such information is duly documented in the committee minutes, which are then forwarded to the members of the Board of Directors of the SICAV.
9. Analysis of Information
The Compliance Officer will ensure that complaints handling data is analysed, if any, on an ongoing basis, in order to ensure that any recurring or systematic problems, and other potential legal and operational risks are identified, addressed and mitigated for future reference. In this respect, the below procedures are adopted by the SICAV:
● An analysis of the causes of individual complaints is carried out to identify common root causes of the different types of complaints;
● Assessments to the common root causes are also performed to determine whether the latter also affect other processes or products, including those not directly complained of; and
● Enhance and update internal systems and controls to ensure that the common root causes are corrected, and possibly mitigated going forward.
10. Contact Information
Investors should refer to the below contact information when lodging a complaint to the SICAV, either by post, via an email address, or a verbal complaint through the phone.
Merill SICAV plc
The Complaints Manager
St Joseph High Street,
Hamrun, HMR 1019,
Complaints Contact Details
Telephone: +356 2122 4410