The IFA Defence Union has made a scathing attack on the Financial Ombudsman Service, suggesting the organisation works “contrary to fair play and common sense”.
Its submission says the FOS has wide powers of interpretation, unlike the legal system, and applies subjectivity to all areas.
It says: “This subjectivity, which Walter Merricks refers to as ‘natural justice’, provides for plentiful instances of ambiguity and contradiction. In reality, it might better be termed unnatural injustice.”
The IFADU proposes the introduction of an up-front refundable deposit that would be repaid to consumers if complaints are upheld.
It says: “Such a deposit system will serve to deter the opportunistic or vexatious complainant as they will not realistically be expecting to win or to receive redress.”
It is also disgruntled with the lack of assistance available for advisers who may not be familiar with the ombuds-man’s procedures. “Complainants are assisted with their complaints, whereas firms, particularly retired individuals who may have been outside of the financial services arena for many years, are left to stumble through the intricacies of the Disp rules and FOS processes.”
The IFADU says all adjudications should be in the public domain, with the names of the firm and consumer removed, to enable stakeholders to judge FOS justice in action and form their own views as to the worth of the organisation.