Financial Ombudsman Service chairman Nicholas Montagu has defended the skills of the adjudicators at the complaint handling service.
In a letter to the FOS, The Claims Bureau chairman Peter O’Donnell claims that a number of cases he is handling had been delayed by over 11 months, and claims that ombudsmen had told him that the cases were too complicated for the service.
Montagu’s response, seen by Money Marketing, reads: “You say that senior members of staff at the ombudsman service have conceded that complaints we have handled are too complex to be appropriately assessed. I have to say that I completely disagree with this interpretation.”
Montagu says that, while the cases had been delayed because of their “complex nature” requiring more time to go through them, this did not reflect on the skills of the ombudsmen involved.
Montagu says: “This does not mean our casework staff are insufficiently trained or managed, as you suggest, but rather that we need to spend the appropriate amount of time investigating the issues. We go to great lengths to ensure our casework staff have the necessary resources, training, knowledge and support to handle the cases they are dealing with.”
Montagu also defended the service’s ruling after a number of cases had appeared to reach different conclusions from those of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
FOS rules on the basis of what adjudicators believe is fair and reasonable, taking into account relevant law, whereas the FSCS judges on a civil liabilities test, leading to contradictory verdicts in cases including over advice on unregulated property scheme Harlequin.
Montagu says: “In my view it is misleading to compare our handling of individual cases with those being handled by another body with quite a different remit, or to attempt to draw general conclusions from doing so.”