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FSA admits misleading ex-IFA on cut-off point for claims

The FSA has been forced to apologise after its contact centre mistakenly informed a former IFA that there was a 15-year cut-off point on complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Brian Lentz, formerly a principal at IFA firm Portfolio, was trying to seek clarity on FOS jurisdiction from the FSA’s contact centre. He wanted to know whether the 15-year time limit specified in the 1980 Limitation Act also applied to complaints to the FOS.

In a letter to Lentz, a member of the FSA’s Regulatory Services Business Unit said the maximum time limit in which a complainant could come forward was 15 years, even if a six-month warning letter was not sent to the customer.

Earlier this month, the FSA wrote to Lentz admitting it had made a mistake. The FSA says it is reviewing how this mistake occurred and has taken steps to ensure that its contact centres are “fully aware of the correct position”.

FOS spokeswoman Emma Parker says the 15-year long-stop under the Limitation Act was deliberately excluded from FOS rules because of the long-term nature of many investments.

FSA spokesman David Whitely says: “Dealing with so many enquiries, there will occasionally be breakdowns in communication. This has been addressed and we hope it will not happen again.”

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