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FOS and lawyer split on IFAs&#39 views

The vast majority of IFAs are happy with the Financial Ombudsman Service and feel comfortable with its complaints&#39 handling process, according to research from the FOS.

Its research shows that 85 per cent of IFAs feel they are able to challenge ombudsman adjudications within the organisation&#39s present framework.

It also found that only 14 per cent of IFAs feel the need to challenge ombudsman decisions once a judgement has been made.

The survey was sent out to 340 IFAs and completed by 147 of them.

Head of communications David Cresswell says these findings are in stark contrast with the perception of the ombudsman through the media and “a handful of outspoken personalities”.

However, Glasgow lawyer Alasdair Sampson of Drum-mond Miller has called on IFAs to band together and form a defence union against unfair ombudsman decisions, saying that the FOS findings do not match up with his experiences.

He says he has had around 80 calls from IFAs who say they are concerned with the FOS structure.

The FOS found that 75 per cent of IFAs feel the reasons that ombudsman complaints have been upheld are valid.

Sampson says of all the IFAs that he has been in contact with, only one has been happy with the ombudsman&#39s decisions they have been involved with.

Cresswell says: “This res-earch gives us a good idea of what firms who come in contact with us think about the ombudsman process. They indicate that the vast majority of IFAs are comfortable with the ombudsman process and believe that it is fair. The results have been surprisingly positive, considering the impressions you get from some outspoken critics.”

Sampson says: “Of the IFAs I have spoken to, the refrain has been dissatisfaction with the ombudsman&#39s staff, a questioning of their ability and frustration at the lack of an effective appeals&#39 process.”


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