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FOS seeks role with chasers

The Financial Ombudsman Service has put itself forward to handle complaints againstclaim management companies and solicitors.

It tabled a proposal to the Government following the publication in May of the Legal Services Bill, which will create a new regulator for the legal profession, the Legal Services Board, and a complaint-handling body, the Office of Legal Complaints.

Regulation of the claim management sector will start in October after the Compensation Bill was passed last month.

FOS spokeswoman Emma Parker says it decided to register its interest after the proposals for the OLC drew heavily on the FOS structure.

In his pitch to the Government, chief ombudsman Walter Merricks says the FOS has the infrastructure to handle large volumes of complaints and can generate efficiencies of scale though sharing back-office systems. If chosen, the FOS would operate its new complaint-handling functions under a separate brand.

Parker says: “There is a logic behind us being the body but it is not up to us to decide. We have brought eight different regimes together before and have the right skill sets for the job.”

Personal Finance Society public affairs director John Ellis says: “I have always said claim management firms should be brought within the structure that regulates IFA businesses.”

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