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FOS chair: Cases are not ‘too complex’ for our staff

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.”



Hargreaves Lansdown FSCS bill falls by a quarter

Hargreaves Lansdown’s contribution towards the Financial Services Compensation Scheme fell by nearly a quarter this year, the broker’s annual results released today show. For the year ended 30 June, Hargreaves paid £4.2m in FSCS levies, down from £5.5m the previous year. FSCS levies are calculated on the amount of business a firm does in each […]


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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Regardless of this there are a number of cases that have been escalated to an Ombudsman which have been sitting in the grass for a number of years.

    This may be due to the potential disruption caused by the reversed outcome or the likelihood of an unwelcome judicial review.

  2. The question highlight above is why is any organisation, company, regulator, adjudicator allowed to make any ruling OUTSIDE UK Law.
    This is the problem with financial services, all to often the rule of what we think happened is applied to complaints. Whilst in many cases they may be correct, this is not the issue. When you start to move away from the law, it results in total confusion and uncertainty for all parties. This effectively is why financial advisers continually look like rabbits frozen in the headlights, praying, wondering which way to jump and wondering what’s next.

  3. She would say that. Justifying their existence as the biggest ambulance chaser in the world!

  4. Under a FOI request ir transpires the FOS have zero G60 or AF3 pension tranfer qualified staff. Nor do they keep central record of staff qualifications. How can anyone without the same level of technical knowledge as a pension transfer specialist then act as judge, jury and executioner on a complaint case? A flawed system.

    • No qualifications or knowledge of the subject.

      Imagine if it was decided that examiners at the driving test centre did not need to have a their own licence.

  5. My experience has been that the so-called adjudicators and “ombudsman” do not have the necessary knowledge and experience for the matters upon which they adjudicate.

    They can have irrefutable evidence and dismiss it. They can then refused to have their decisions reviewed and fail to disclose all of the “evidence” the other side provides. That is despite the fact the proceedings are meant to be transparent with “all cards on the table”.

  6. Well you are entitled to your opinion (I guess), but I wouldn’t risk putting it to a vote if I were you.

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