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‘FSA and FOS staff must be trained above level four’

Advisers are calling on the FSA and the Financial Ombudsman Service to raise the qualifications of their staff above QCF level four and publicly declare each staff members’ credentials.

Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners managing director Robert Reid says supervisors and adjudicators need to have equ-ivalent or higher qualifications than the advisers they supervise.

He says: “If the FSA and the Financial Ombudsman Service do not raise themselves to level six by default, then they have no right to judge others with knowledge far greater than those sent to check their work.

“Those in power need to either evidence the qualifications of the checkers or put a programme in motion to fast-track them to level four and beyond.”

Informed Choice joint managing director Nick Bamford says the FOS must be forced to disclose the qualifications held by all its staff members.

He told delegates at the Money Marketing RDR Invitational last week: “We have a new chief executive at the FOS now and I think they should come out publicly and state the qualifications of the individuals that do various jobs there.

“I asked this of the previous CEO and the answer I got was ’they are experienced, some of them even used to be IFAs’ and I am not sure that is good enough. I think the FOS should publish a list of the qualifications and experience of every single member of their team.”

A FOS spokesman says: “Omb-udsman staff have a range of specialist qualifications and experience that fit the specific roles that they are in. Rigorous quality checks ensure that cases are thoroughly investigated and resolved fairly.”

The FSA refused to comment.

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Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. It does seem strange that as a profession we allow people without industry experience or relevant qualifications to run us (many of the problems now faced by life offices and banks are due to the fact they brought in ‘sales’ people to increase market share) and regulate us. Is it any wonder we’re in the mess were in.

  2. I recall conversations with Walter Merricks regarding the quality of staff.

    He averred that all adjudicators were experienced industry people – although he refused to disclose what qualifications, if any, that they possessed.

    Only a year or so back the FOS was advertising for adjudicators offering a starting salary of £21,500. I questioned how this figure wouild attract anybody other than an industry failure. he confided that many joined because having the FOS name on their CVs made impressive reading!

    By contrast, the FSA pays fat salaries with bonuses independent of the economic turmoil and it seems a black and white contrast.

    Uplifting skills will require an uplift in adjudicator salaries which I would be in favour of if the FOS worked within UK law and not some arcane system of prejudice and guesswork.

  3. Re Alans conversation with walter. “Having the FOS name on your cv makes impressive reading.”
    Strange, I always thought it stood for Full Of S*** especially in Merricks “we unashamedly make the laws” case.

  4. Incompetent Regulators Awards Team 6th May 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Well I’ve been asking all adjudicators their qualifications every time I have had a case, and guess what? They never tell you if they have any. They have been instructed not to answer that question by the senior staff. This information was from an X-FOS adjudicator who came to work in my office so I know the facts.

    I also know that I had a case upheld against me because I had posed this question to the adjudicator only for the same case to be overturned in question by someone else who had a brain and legal background.

    I also know the FOS waorks on sales targets to cmplete cases just like any sales environment and that Networks were halled in and told to uphold more complaints! No that King merricks has git his knighthood and had galloped off into the distance we’re still left with a cr*ppy system that’s broken.

    I have had a very recent case whereby the adjudicator was way out his depth with pensions, made a mistake which I pointed out to him where he had gone wrong. And for him to overturn his original decision. He clearly knew nothing of the subject and yet I have no recourse or protection against such unjust system.

    With 30 years of experience in the industry and qualfications to back my experience, how can ANY adjudicator know more than me on the products and subjects which I have sold? They can’t compete on the same level.

    It’s like having to tread on eggshells and be a real creep to win my cases over when dealing with such idiots who are above their station. I have to educate them first without them really realising I am doing it and I have to pretend they know their subject. It’s far from the truth. This is abuse at it’s extreme.

    If we are to have any form of Ombudsman thats will work at all, adjudicators as well as ombudsmen must have a wealth of experience as well as qualifications. That’s a tall and expensive order if you want quality.

  5. Norm d' Plume 10th May 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Having unqualified supervisors in an IFA’s office would result in at least harsh comment from the regulator and probably disciplinary action, so having regulators with less qualification than the regulated is an obvious unfairness, as well as being downright stupid.

    But then, perhaps the Institute of Chartered Accountants might want their latest school leaver commenting on a member’s audit capability. I don’t think so!

  6. I lost a case because a lady said 2 years later she did not realise it was a pension-she was paying 400 a month.They gave her the money back and told her to keep the pension. It was an fp plan allocated on a regular single premium basis. Fos said I should have investigated more the avenue of her paying single contributions. Duh!!! And did they want me to do single premium top ups of 400 a month? waste of space and another 3k down the pan- sesame defended me on that one hahahaha!

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