The Financial Ombudsman Service is failing to take adviser evidence into account in around a third of cases, according to research conducted by the Association of Professional Financial Advisers.
Responding to a survey carried out by the lobby group, 34 per cent of advisers that have had a complaint referred to the FOS say the ruling did not take their evidence into account.
Some 8 per cent of advisers also reported that the reasoning for a ruling was not always provided, while around one in five said a complaint against them had been referred to the FOS in the last three years.
Of the complaints that were referred to the FOS, 47 per cent said most cases were found in their favour while 26 per cent said most were found in the complainants favour.
Some 8 per cent said that they’d had an equal number of each outcome and 18 per cent either didn’t know or the case was still being investigated.
Apfa director general Chris Hannant says: “While it is positive to see that only a small number of advisers have had complaints referred to FOS, it is worrying that advisers feel the Ombudsman does not value the evidence they provide.
“This issue may only be affecting a small number of advisers but it is nonetheless an important one. Advisers put a lot of time and effort into responding to complaints and presenting evidence to FOS and the Ombudsman should take this into account when ruling on cases. In addition, if advisers do not understand the reasoning behind FOS’s decision they cannot do anything to ensure similar issues do not arise in the future.
“If FOS is disregarding advisers’ evidence it needs to provide a valid reason for doing so, otherwise it must clearly demonstrate that the evidence has been considered and explain the reasons behind all its decisions. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep this issue front of the Ombudsman’s mind.”
A FOS spokesman says: “In every case we investigate we consider the evidence provided by both parties before reaching a decision of what we think is fair and reasonable in the circumstances.”
The survey was conducted with 216 advisers in April this year.