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FOS zeroes in on time zones

The Financial Ombudsman Service will soon set out the time zones it will use to pinpoint liability for advice given on zero-dividend preference shares.

The FOS said earlier this year that it will be adjudicating on zeroes&#39 complaints according to when advice was given.

For example, if advice was given in the early stages, the FOS says it is reasonable to assume that zeroes were low-risk. In the middle stage, it says increased information about risks should have been considered while in the final period it says intermediaries should have been aware of excessive gearing and insufficient asset cover.

Speaking at a round table hosted by Money Marketing last week, chief ombudsman Walter Merricks said the FOS has started to place some cases into different zones but complainants are disagreeing with decisions and nothing has yet been finalised. He said the FOS will soon state precisely what the zones will be.

Merricks was responding to questions from Pearson Jones director Yvonne Good-win, who asked if she was right to assume that cases are simply in a queue system and will be dealt with in turn.

Goodwin said: “You do not appear to have elaborated on the specific time zones. Will these time zones be made available to the industry and, if so, when?” Merricks said: “We are nearing the point where we will be able to state what the zones may be. The reason we have not said what they are yet is because a number of people have challenged them.

“We have started to say which time zone a few cases fall into but we have had a number of answers back, saying that the complainants disagree.”


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