Chancellor Philip Hammond has said the government welcomes the FCA’s plans to grant access to the Financial Ombudsman Service for small and medium-sized firms.
This comes two-weeks on from the regulator’s announcement of its plans to hike up the FOS limit by £200,000 to £350,000.
In today’s Autumn Budget, Hammond says the plans in place to extend access to the ombudsman for SMEs are underway, and that “FOS will now take steps to ensure they have the necessary skills and processes in place to handle these new cases”.
SMEs with an annual turnover below £6.5m and with fewer than 50 employees, or an annual balance sheet under £5m can refer unresolved complaints to the ombudsman as of this month.
The plans will allow an estimated 210,000 more firms to seek redress with the ombudsman.
Under previous rules, businesses had to meet a turnover, headcount and balance sheet total before they could take a claim as a business, not an individual, to FOS.
Hammond today says he expects banks to repond to another report produced on how SMEs can best resolve disputes – including a recomendation from former director general of the Institute of Directors Simon Walker that SMEs outside the FOS remit but below £10 million turnover, should have a separate voluntary regime to look at unresolved complaints from the past.