The Financial Ombudsman Service has challenged the view it is biased against advisers and takes an inconsistent approach to the profession in rulings.
Lead ombudsman Caroline Mitchell criticised several “myths” advisers have about the body at Money Marketing’s Retirement Summit yesterday.
She says it is not true FOS will rule against an adviser if they do not put all information about advice in a suitability report.
However, information most relevant to giving that piece of advice is important because suitability reports should be tailored to a client’s needs.
Mitchell challenged the claim FOS ignores disclosure or risk warnings. She also challenged the argument the organisation faces that because FOS staff are not advisers themselves they are not qualified to make judgments against IFAs.
Mitchell adds: “This sector has an excellent record and complaints against advisers make up a very small segment of our workload. Last year we received 340,000 complaints and only 17,000 were against advisers.
“Also we have had only 1,300 complaints relating to pensions since the freedoms started just over three years ago [April 2015] so this is not a huge problem.”
FOS makes evidence based rulings so advisers who take time to understand their client’s needs, ensure risk warnings are clear and produce tailored suitability reports are unlikely to fall foul of it, she says.