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FOS staff are not up to the task


How delightful to read Alan Lakey’s comment in the May 13 edition of Money Marketing. This is the first comment of its kind that I have ever seen and frankly that in itself has caused me continuing astonishment.

The adjudicators at the Financial Ombudsman Service are not up to the task. We have an abundance of evidence within our office which shows that they are ill-equipped, lacking in knowledge of the products which they are asked to comment on and have no, to my knowledge, qualification to deal with complaints relevant to certain matters and frankly adopt an attitude which favours the consumer.

I am very happy to provide evidence of my statement and have asked Sir Christopher Kelly, chief executive of the service, to meet with me and discuss the frailties of the service.

The service is riddled with prejudice, guesswork and old-fashioned idioms. There is no credibility given to the current financial marketplace, nor the attitude taken by claimants in our ambulance-chasing society.

Until the ombudsman is prepared to look in the mirror and employ staff who have an understanding of the marketplace, the appropriate qualification and skills, then individuals such as myself and Alan will continue to be thwarted in our efforts to ensure that claims for misselling are upheld by what has become the laughing stock of the industry, known as the Financial ombudsman Service.

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There are 10 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. By incompetent do you mean don’t agree with your point fo view? My experience of FOS adjudicators has been of well-balanced and appropriately educated (are they chartered no – but do they need to be assessing low-cost endowments and onshore bonds?) and in most cases the issues surround applying regulatory rules.

    Making such broad, and frankly ridiculous statements, succeeds inly in undermining any credible evidence you hold to support your claims.

  2. To Mr M. The only complaints I have been involved in with the FOS have been helping clients WITH their complaints ratehr than defending them. I have not found them marvellous myself as they fail to gather and look at evidence offered to them if it does not fit their views. I had a case where a Bank’s stockbrokers arm failed in it’s duty of care to it’s client. I pointed out to the FOS staff member that being a stockbroker, there would eb recordings of what both the dealling team and the admin team actually said to the client so that heresay on either part could be eradicated. I explain that the phone calls we had made, but not those the client had made to the stockbroker were recored and we could demonstrate from those the failure of the duty of care. The recordings were not requested and the complaint rejected initially until we went back to them and reminded them that basing their decision on the defendants flawed (we have the dated stamped recordings don’t forget) hearsay of what happened is not alternative dispute resolution and were the case to go to law, the client would win, but it would take a lot of money to fight the case in law and that was what true ADR was supposed to be for.
    The FOS is NOT an alternative dispute resolution service, it is a political tool….

  3. The FOS have employed hundreds of temporary contract workers who get paid on a ‘piece meal’ basis, its turned the FOS into a numbers game, quantity over quality. Most if not all of these people are nothing more than basic complaint handlers with no in-depth knowledge of the industry or FSA rules, hence they uphold many complaints due to a lack of real understanding.

  4. FOS do not have any systems in place to filter cases to appropriate adjudicators. They allocate on a first in basis. Anon. 9.12 above is correct.

    I like Phil C am involved with a case on behalf of a person who has been taken advantage of most dreadfully – in my opinion.

  5. I believe the prevailing attitude is that it is easier to appease the client and get the case closed then go into protracted investigations and discussion with those involved. Lazy investigation and decisions to suit their targets, target driven is not acceptable for an adviser so why is it for FOS staff, whether permanent or temporary. I also assume the contractors as per the above comment are paid over the odds so no doubt the FOS fee will be rising anytime soon.

  6. with 21 years experience in FS I have to ask you fella`s to take your blinkers off and join the real world.Our industry is discredited because it is full of people with illusions of grandeur. You think no one else has any understanding of this industry, that is why you think you can get away with advice that is good for you but not the client, when this is proven you blame everybody, even the poor client who has been wronged you jump about pretending you have some secret knowledge that no one has. The FOS do a brilliant job, they generally know what they are talking about and it is good they err on the side of the customer. It is simple, Client has lost money, adviser and insurance company makes a load of money, but they all supposed to be acting in the losers interest. say no more.

  7. Gerry, one has to wonder if after 21 years you reading ability is failing you as if you look at the comments where you refer to “you fellas” above, two of us, John Whipple and I have are talking about complaints our clients have made of others and NOT us and that the FOS have not been very professional when handling those complaints. My clients for instance has been through two different people at the FOS and is now being referred byt the FOS staff further up the food chain to an actual Ombudsman after both have proven NOt to know what they were doing and in particular proven that they are not a true alternative dispute resolution service as the whole issue could have been resolved in 2 hours using a trained mediator rather than an adjudication system where the “adjudicators” may have no knowledge about the law and fail to obtain evidence other than from one source to decide on an outcome, despite there being clear records availabe telephone recordings).

  8. Incompetent Regulators Awards Team 3rd June 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I have had plenty of experience with dealing with the FOS and in particular the adjudicators. They are totally unqualified, have been instructed never to tell anyone their qualifications if asked, have had 1 case upheld againsty my firm because I dared ask this question only to be oveturned by another when pressed (I have the evidence), are instructed ignore all jurisdictiion challenges regardless, operate a sales and bonus culture to process cases as quickly as possible – hence mistakes are made contantly etc etc etc….All instructed from the top down e,g, Merrick.

    I currently have an outrageous case whereby I have not done any business with the client except he is trying to pin the stock market crash on my firm only to be told by an adudicator my firm did nothing wrong but I should still offer some redress and then subsequently pointed out his assessment was flawed and subsequently changed his mind……………………I am more qualified that the FOS, so p*ss off!

    1st post here Mister Maker is talking ou of his ar*e

  9. The issues at hand are nothing to do with who is to blame and whether advice is good or bad.

    The issue of the FOS being wayward, frequently confused and always capricious is down to the quality of staff, the pressures they work under and the political decisions which determine the resulting decisions.

    Consistency has always been an issue. Adjudicator opinions are allowed to outweigh evidential submissions and complainants are frequently coached and assisted with their complaints.

    Because of the FOS’s inquisitorial process a specific complaint may be rejected but the FOS may find in favour of a complainant regarding a charge that was not even levelled!

    Any arbitration system has to be fair and the simplest means of being fair is to replicate the parameters of English Law thenall parties know where they stand.

    Statute law and precedent has built up over thousands of years and it is arrogant in the extreme to devise an artificial system which seeks to cut through the very safeguards that were designed and installed to avoid miscarriages of justice.

  10. I was stopped by the police for driving with insurance on when I contacted the insurance company they said that they had sent me three cancellation letters in the post. Had they said they sent one letter I would have left it at that and paid the fine but alarm bells started ringing. I went to see them the next day and asked to see copies of the letters they took four hours to tell me that they could not restive the from their system, they would have to recreate them and send them out the next day. I contacted the FOB and had to wait 4 weeks for the letters to arrive. When i received the letters one of them sent out on the day that I had visited the company.

    I took the case to court and the court awarded a Discharged absolutely special reasons on balance of probability that letters were lost or delayed in postal strike. I don’t understand how four letters all sent out at different times all get lost in the post and the FOB accept that as evidence. I have Written my concerns to the FOB and submitted new leads but they not taken any of my issues into consideration .
    Issues raised were not addressed, the adjudicator wrote in her last letter that the company had sent letters to me by recorded delivery. I challenged her about the company providing proof because I had not signed for any thing, she did not seem to mind that the company was giving her information that they could not substantiate, she was just not going to rule in my favour. Because she felt that the £45 fee waver that Hastings direct had offered for cancelling the cover was enough compensation. Regardless of the £1230 I had to pay out in fines and court cost.

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