View more on these topics

FCA survives complaint its FOS oversight is failing

Corporate-Portfolio-Briefcase-General-Business-700x450.jpgThe FCA has survived a complaint that it has failed in its duty to oversee the Financial Ombudsman Service.

A complainant took their case to the FCA after saying that the regulator had not lived up to its statutory responsibility to make sure that FOS is capable of performing its duties, and has ignored evidence of systemic failings.

The FCA originally rejected the complaint because it felt it was about the actions or inactions of FOS and not the regulator itself.

The Complaints Commissioner’s ruling released today says that while the FCA was wrong to exclude the query from its complaints scheme, the issues raised “did not amount to systemic issues justifying FCA intervention”.

The FCA is currently in charge of FOS board appointments, budget approvals, and has a board sub-committee that meets with FOS three or four times a year to produce a report.

The FCA has acknowledged the exclusion was made in error.

The Complaints Commissioner suggested to the complainant that they could take up further concerns with the Treasury committee of MPs if they wished.

The ruling reads: “In your original letter to the FCA, you complained that individual ombudsmen were unaccountable – but it is a feature of the scheme that the ombudsman’s decision is final. Some of your complaint seems to me to be about constitutional issues which are not within the FCA’s control: they should be addressed to the Government or Parliament.”

FOS chief executive Caroline Wayman is due to give evidence to MPs on the Treasury committee on 15 January for a session on the service’s work.



What new longevity measures mean for retirement advice

Traditional life expectancy figures are unhelpful for anyone trying to generate a sustainable retirement income For the first time, the Office for National Statistics has released life expectancy figures that include two additional measures – median and modal ages at death – which raise some interesting points for advisers. The variation between different types of life […]


FOS orders compensation over Harlequin pension transfer

The Financial Ombudsman Service has ordered IFA firm Sussex Independent Financial Advisers to compensate a client for advising them to transfer their pension into a Sipp set up to invest in Harlequin. The decision concerns a client referred to as Mrs S, who complained about the advice she received in 2009 to move her pension […]

Billy Burrows

Billy Burrows: Time to simplify pension guidance jargon

Every industry has its jargon but pensions seems to have more than most. It is time to end the confusion caused by terms that people simply do not understand. It is bad enough the world of pensions has a language of its own but it is even worse that jargon is preventing people making the […]

Tapering of annual allowance – adjusted and threshold income

The definitions of adjusted income and threshold income used to determine whether, and to what extent, someone’s annual allowance will be reduced can be confusing.  Here we try to make sense of it all. The annual allowance will be reduced for high income individuals from 6 April 2016.  Our previous article Tapering of annual allowance […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Possibly it’s time for FOS to come under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice where legal, evidence based due process has to be followed and to avoid the conflicting interests of the regulator and an independent Ombudsman

  2. Slowly (very) but surely the FOS will be made more accountable for its decisions and that can only be a good thing for the whole sector not least the FOS itself. Fairness, transparency and integrity are at the heart of regulation but must be extended to the advisory community itself. Being seen as a consumer’s champion is not a mantle it should aspire to but it is how most advisers view the service.
    The FCA issued a paper in November 2017 as part of its mission statement declaring customers must share some responsibility for the advice process. It is after all a two way street. The FOS cannot be used as a means of correcting every mistake that arose particularly when the customer can be shown to be at fault.When fellow professionals declare that they don’t envy our responsibility in doing our job you know consumer protection has swung too far the other way.

    • Very well put Mr Jones, some people see the FOS as an easy ticket to compensation with no risk to themselves for initiating spurious claims or even downright lies about what they were told.

  3. Both FCA and FOS have publicly stated and bemoaned that suitability letters are being composed from a defensive stand-point.

    The arbitrary nature of FOS and its lack of checks and balances ensures that such letters will continue.

    Isn’t it revealing that advisers were forced into taking examinations to bring themselves up to QCF4 yet ombudsmen, adjudicators and other staff have no minimum standard requirements.

    More to the point, when the FOS advertised for a new chief executive the advert made clear that legal experience was not a requirement!

  4. He’s a good example of the FOS being a law un to itself. FCA order a skileld persons report (which costs an arm and a leg). Skileld person appointed by the FCA makes reccomendation but the FOS think they know better.
    From DRN7293667 “I note the
    point Coutts made about the regulator appointed Skilled Person that was involved in its and agreed with its benchmark. However, my role is to consider the complaint independently and I am not bound by the skilled person’s recommendations in this respect.”
    Now does that sound like “out of control” to you or what?

  5. Quite a useful thing to do is to go to . By doing so, you can see that In 2017, for investment and pensions complaints, the FOS rejected 1507 and upheld 596.
    Whilst every case, like every client is different, I do wish that the FOS woudl start to work on a simialr basis to case law. That way I think we’d be less likely to be critical of them.
    Enhancing the FOS decsiions page so cases can be searched for by type and relevance would also be a useful learning tool for advisers/paraplanners and F-pack staff alike.

  6. Regulatory arbitrage

  7. Deniability and Un-Accountability is just wind direction in regulation land.

    Taking ownership and accountability, is just a light breeze away from non existence !

Leave a comment