Farhana Faruqui

The Customer Complaint Address Module: An angel to the investors

Farhana Faruqui: The BSEC has introduced a free online complaint-addressing system for investors, enabling them to lodge complaints from anywhere in the world, requiring only a device with an internet connection saving them time and money.

In the world of capital markets, where economic growth depends on investments, we often forget something important—providing investors with a way to share their concerns. This discussion closely examines the investor complaint address module, demonstrating its key role in clarity and trust-building.

Understanding the intricacies of finance emphasises the need for systems to protect investors' interests. Let's embark on a journey unravelling the narrative of investor grievances and highlighting the necessity for a robust system that not only listens but also takes real action in the changing world of transitional capital markets.

The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC), as the guardian of the country's capital market, is dedicated to protecting investors. While entering the market with their valuable capital, investors should have the opportunity to raise concerns to ensure their safety.

Aligning with this principle, the BSEC introduced an online complaint-addressing system free of charge for investors, saving them valuable time. This system enables individuals to lodge complaints from any part of the world, requiring only a device with an internet connection. The solution to customer complaints comes in the form of the Customer complaint address module (CCAM), an initiative introduced by the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission on 30 September 2019, explicitly relevant in a market landscape dominated by retail investors.

From the BSEC's perspective, the digitalised nature of the CCAM significantly expedites complaint resolution. This investor-friendly module eliminates the need for official documentation during complaint processing by providing a more efficient and streamlined approach. Previously, investors had to physically visit or delegate someone to submit a written complaint at the BSEC office. However, the introduction of the CCAM has transformed this process.

There is an icon labelled "Customer Complaint Address Module" on the right side of the homepage of BSEC's website, www.sec.gov.bd. Clicking this icon will take an investor to the relevant page. This digital tool connects stock market stakeholders seamlessly, empowering investors to lodge complaints globally.

To enhance further accessibility and awareness, stock exchanges and the central depository have included a link to the securities regulator's online complaint module on their respective websites. Investors and capital market intermediaries can now directly access the CCAM from the websites of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE), and Central Depository Bangladesh Limited, facilitating a seamless and widespread utilisation of this valuable resource.

Before initiating the use of the CCAM, individuals can familiarise themselves with the guidelines available on the front page, presented in both Bengali and English. The process entails providing personal details and outlining the allegation. The system then automatically directs complaints to the relevant parties. In cases where issues remain unresolved, an alert is triggered to notify the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC).

Users can articulate their problems in either Bengali or English, and they have the option to attach relevant documents to their complaints. Even potential investors without a Beneficiary Owner (BO) account can submit grievances through this module. The complainant receives an acknowledgement, including an ID for future reference, via email or mobile number once a complaint is submitted.

Recognising the importance of investor feedback as a valuable mechanism for progress, the system incorporates an option for users to rate the service provided by the BSEC. This platform not only offers a swift remedy and a hassle-free experience but also offers a status check option using either the ID or mobile number.

Moreover, complainants retain the flexibility to withdraw their complaints and submit appeals if they are dissatisfied with the outcome. In essence, this system serves as a comprehensive and responsive mechanism, ensuring that investors have a range of options to address and resolve their concerns efficiently.

In the present context, the success rate of CCAM is more than 99%, which is an outstanding performance. To date, CCAM has received 1523 complaints, out of which 1514 concerns have already been resolved. This information is consistently accessible on the BSEC's website, showcasing transparency and accountability. Detailed statistics are provided on a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, yearly, and since the module's inception basis.

Now, let's highlight this month's performance: we received 29 complaints, and already 20 have been successfully addressed. The average time it took to resolve each complaint was 6.5 days. To uphold a fair resolution rate and avoid a buildup of pending complaints, the BSEC is committed to resolving issues promptly.

Investors usually face issues like delayed dividends, unsettled share transactions, unauthorised sales of shares, or forced selling of holdings. Now they have a user-friendly solution—which you will probably call, without hesitation, an investor's 'Guardian Angel'.

The regulator's primary objective is to safeguard investors' rights while sending a clear message to wrongdoers that all activities are under constant scrutiny with this type of mechanism. Even though manual complaints are still accepted, there is an option to upload them to the system. However, investors need to provide email or mobile numbers for tracking purposes. Consequently, those investors who provide contact information can monitor the progress of their complaints.

On the contrary, in cases where complaints lack an email or mobile number, complainants may remain unaware of the proceedings, posing a challenge to tracking the complaint. In that case, we have to address the problem manually, requiring more time. This underscores one of the reasons why the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) strongly advocates the use of the Customer Complaint Address Module (CCAM) in this era of technological advancement.

In a collaborative effort, the securities regulator, stock exchanges, and central depository actively collaborate to strengthen vigilant regulatory oversight, aiming to prevent market misconduct and fraudulent activities. This strategic approach seeks to mitigate the risks of defaults within the market.

The belief is that by adopting a proactive, transparent, and investor-centric approach, regulators can significantly contribute to maintaining the integrity of the capital market and building investor confidence. The success of CCAM relies on the collective efforts of all parties involved—the regulator, stakeholders, and, most importantly, the investors. The true accomplishment of CCAM will be determined when it proves sustainability over a period of time.

Farhana Faruqui: Director, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC).

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