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Aifa wins £500 fee refund deal for frivolous claims

Aifa has agreed a system to allow IFAs to be refunded the £500 case fee for “frivilous cases” brought by their clients to the Financial Services Ombudsman.


The news comes as the FSA, under pressure from Conservative shadow economic secretary Howard Flight and IFA representatives, has conceded changes to the pensions review guidance making it clear IFAs can have advisers, including lawyers, present during visits.


Aifa is writing to members informing them how they can put together a case file to demonstrate a claim is &#39vexatious&#39 so they may be refunded or not charged in the first place.


The Ombudsman says it is still consulting on the final system but confirms that the £500 fee per case will remain for a transitional period.


On FSA visits, IFAs maintain they have been actively discouraged from having advisers present although the FSA says this has never been the case.


The change was secured by the Conservative Treasury frontbencher Howard Flight when raising concerns about heavyhandedness by the pensions review team.


The legislation underpinning the regulator has its final House of Commons vote this week before moving to the House of Lords.


The Tories will continue the fight over the principles underpinning the FSA in the upper chamber with advertising guru Lord Saatchi leading the Opposition team.


Demands include the separation of the roles of Chief Executive and Chairman and an independent complaints investigator.


Aifa director general Paul Smee says: “We have agreed a procedure they will follow if we have got a vexatious omnbudsman case. This is very helpful to IFAs.”

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