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Fos review shows customers satisfied with IFAs, says Aifa

The Association of Independent Financial Advisers says the Financial Ombudsman Service’s annual review is a “clear endorsement” that customers are satisfied with IFAs.

Complaints against advisers dropped by two thirds to 4 per cent in the year 2007/08, according to the review, while complaints against banks rose sharply.

Director general Chris Cummings is reiterating his call on the Fos to shake up the levy system so that those who receive the most complaints pay the “lion’s share” of the costs.

He says: “This substantiates Aifa’s view that the vast majority of complaints brought to Fos are related to large financial institutions, and only a small proportion of complaints are generated by IFA firms. The percentage of complaints brought against IFAs was a mere 4 per cent. This is a clear endorsement of customer satisfaction, especially as IFAs are the major distribution channel for financial advice and products. Aifa has been very vocal in its views over the general levy and case fees charged to firms. We firmly believe that those who are the biggest users of Fos should pay the lion’s share of the costs.”

Aifa is strengthening its call for 10 free cases to be awarded to all firms. This would see the vast majority of advisers escape the painful £400 case fee.

He says: “We are pleased that the Fos board has accepted the need for greater transparency and they have started work on how to best implement the necessary procedures. We look forward to working with the Ombudsman in driving this initiative forward and welcome the figures published on case outcomes as a positive step.”

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