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FOS must strike right balance

When Walter Merricks comments: “The rise in mortgage endowment complaints to the FOS is not necessarily a drive to higher standards by firms but a minimising of their payouts,” I presume this is based on facts – but even if only on hearsay, what about the percentages also given in this article?Twenty per cent of such complaints are referred to the FOS but no mention is made that the firms must have settled the other 80 per cent of the complaints.

The 20 per cent are the cases that are hard to determine. It would have been more interesting but less supportive of Mr Merricks’ point if he cited the percentage of that 20 per cent which were upheld by the FOS.

However, I was glad to see that Mr Merricks is acutely aware of the ambulance chasers and the dangers for the poor investor but it would have been more constructive to create the right sort of balance between IFAs and clients. But then maybe Mr Merricks’ remarks show where the balance lies.

This is not an easy environment to operate in and we should all be working together for a better future, recognising the lessons from the past. I would see the FOS as an arbiter of the last resort who is neutral, judging the facts as appropriate and taking no sides. Personal comments should be avoided in public conference unless this reflects the official role. But we do need the FOS as a fair arbiter.

MA Walker-SmithBy email


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Five by five

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