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&#39Watchdog may be legally wrong over dual-pricing&#39

The Building Societies&#39 Association is advising its members that the Financial Ombudsman may be legally wrong in its recent decisions against dual-priced products.

In the last few months, the ombudsman has issued adjudications against Nationwide Building Society, Halifax and Cheltenham & Gloucester banks while Norwich & Peterborough Building Society and Abbey National are awaiting final decisions.

The BSA says it has taken legal advice and has circulated guidance to mutuals which includes two key arguments against the rulings which have had a major impact on lenders&#39 mortgage-pricing strategies.

First, claims the BSA, legal opinion is that the Financial Services and Markets Act places an obligation on the ombudsman to consult fully before reaching a decision.

Second, it says there is doubt about whether this lack of consultation and the absence of an appeal process is consistent with human rights legislation.

Nationwide, which is paying compensation of £90m to 400,000 borrowers, says there should be a second stage that the Financial Ombudsman should go through before making decisions.

Nationwide spokeswoman Jennifer Stoddart says: “We have played by the rules but we would welcome change. When the ombudsman is in a position to make decisions that have a major impact on lenders&#39 pricing policy, there should be a second stage involving perhaps the FSA or OFT.”


Skipton IFA aiming to double advisers after going independent

Skipton Financial Services IFA is on track to double its advisers to 80 by July 1 and take on another 40 by the end of the year following its decision to go independent in building society branches.Skipton Building Society is to cut its tie to Norwich Union and change the status of 40 authorised representatives […]

Survey reveals 71% can&#39t afford to save

Nearly three-quarters of Britons cannot afford to save or invest for their future, according to research from Comdirect.The stockbroker found that 71 per cent of Britons claim the cost of everyday living means they are unable to afford to save.Comdirect says its research shows the British have the second-lowest savings rate of the 15 European […]

Hunt quits Aifa to avert consultancy clash

Lord David Hunt is stepping down as Aifa chairman to prevent any conflict of interest as his City law firm sets up a financial consultancy.Hunt, who is a senior partner at Beachcroft Wansbroughs, has promoted the cause of independent financial advice in several House of Lords&#39 debates.The new consultancy Beachcroft Wansbroughs Consulting will be launched […]

Building blocks of N&P success

Norwich & Peterborough Building Society can certainly not be accused of sticking to mainstream lending as it has made a point of differentiating itself through niche products such as self-build mortgages.The UK&#39s 14th-biggest society says it is keen to hold on to its traditional roots, not least through a firm commitment to mutuality.General manager Stephen […]

Iain Chadwick

The Budget 2015: a brief overview

Following George Osborne’s delivery of his sixth Budget as chancellor and the last of this current parliament, we have provided a brief overview of the initiatives put forward in his statement, focusing on the topics that have an impact upon the pensions landscape, savings, personal taxation and businesses.


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