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FSA appoints FOS chairman

The FSA has appointed Sir Nicholas Montagu as the new chairman of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Montagu (pictured) is currently the chairman of the Aviva UK Life with-profits committee, a director of the pension corporation and is a former chairman of the board of Inland Revenue.

FSA chairman Lord Turner says: “Sir Nicholas Montagu has had a distinguished career and brings a wealth of experience in demanding board positions. His predecessor, Sir Christopher Kelly, steered the FOS through challenging periods, and the next few years will be no easier.

“This role needs a customer service champion to help shape the FOS’ future role in the new regulatory structure, and that is what we have with Nick.”

Sir Nicholas Montagu says: “I am delighted to have been appointed chairman of the FOS.  It is a strong and innovative organisation, which over the last ten years has been recognised for the increasingly significant role it plays.  I look forward to working with FOS chief executive Natalie Ceeney and her colleagues as we meet the challenge of providing an ever-improving service, with customer demand set to reach record levels.”


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There are 20 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Joe Egerton - Justice in Financial Services 23rd November 2011 at 10:57 am

    One does not wish to be carping, but one cannot help recalling some of the comments made by the Treasury Committee on the record of HMRC. But never fear – with a background in a giant life office that is pursuing a post-RDR agenda with limited space for IFAs, the FSA can expect an end to the pernicious and wicked habit of FOS of rejecting a higher proportion of complaints against IFAs than against banks, life offices, etc.

  2. It is certainly NOT ” a strong and innovative organisation. ”

    FOS staff = do not read much of the correspondence they receive : base their decisions on opinions rather than facts : send incorrect data to you : are under pressure to meet targets which is detrimental to the consumer : and still take far too long in reaching inaccurate conclusions.

  3. Another Sir added to compliment a Lord (Turner) – says it all really more decision makers not living in the real world.

  4. I thought FOS was impartial…

    He adds: “This role needs a customer service champion to help shape the Ombudsman’s future role in the new regulatory structure, and that is what we have with Nick.”

    How can they be impartial when FSA is stating their head is a ‘Customer Service Champion’.

    If anyone needed ammunition to lodge a legal challenge…I think the FSA has just given it.

  5. Derek Bradley ceo 23rd November 2011 at 11:20 am

    The FOS states that it is their job to sort out individual complaints that consumers and financial businesses haven’t been able to resolve themselves.

    They say they are “completely independent and impartial. This means that when we decide a complaint, we look carefully at both sides of the story and weigh up all the facts”.

    And they go on to say “If we decide a business has treated the consumer fairly, we will explain why. But if we decide the business has acted wrongly – and the consumer has lost out as a result – we can order it to put things right”.

    It does not state that it is “ a customer service champion to help shape the Ombudsman’s future role in the new regulatory structure”. Statements like this simply underline the view held by many that the FOS I not impartial, investigating complaints on the evidence available and/or the balance of probability.

    And I do not believe that it was parliaments intention to create Consumer champions out of Ombudsman offices as that is neither independent nor impartial.

  6. How does one become a member of this exclusive club of highly paid people that sit on committees and in judgement of the rest of us.

    21st Century Britain is looking remarkably similar to medieval feudal Britain.

  7. As for Amanda
    I could not agree with you more
    Very well said

  8. To Chippy Minton

    Becoming a member of this exclusive club of highly paid people is simply the application of don’t give a toss what is right or wrong, ignore the legal rights of advisers to challenge FOS decisions in court, be totally biased towards consumers input, even if it can be demonstrated to be flawed, mendacious and / or simply incorrect and then formulate a system of compensation without any facility to challenge the outcome or even prosecute a consumer for deliberate and in some cases fraudulent misrepresentation, thus you then become the “consumer champion” and gain the respect and admiration of the FSA and all those other organisations whose sole purpose is to shut down the IFA sector or at the very least within the next two years render it an irrelevant business generator.

    Also you must ensure that no adviser or firm complained about, can take the client to court for recovery of their costs when, on the rare occasions the advisers are exonerated from any blame for the clients losses.

    Sounds like a plan!

  9. at the risk of getting lynched by my peers…..

    The quote is a “customert champion” and not a consuemr champion.

    As such customers of the FOS are, consumers, advisers and providers.

    If it is a customer chapmion, then I welcome this. If it is as a “consumer champion”, which is contrary to the quote, then the FOS will become the completely discredited institution many accuse them of already.

    I still have an open mind on the FOS, never having had a complaint get that far (only had one in 13 years)

  10. Phil

    I really really really want to beleive you with “Customer” includes advisers and providers…..

    Why do I feel it’s not though?

  11. When will we see ordinary people engaged within the regulators?

    The answer… never

  12. The FOS is certainly innovative in the area of ‘unashamedly making new law’.

  13. It wasn’t until we received several falsified complaints that I realised how awful this system is.
    No legal recourse, no right to challenge (or even contact) the complainant, £500 cost for being a victim of attempted crime and the risk of increased PI costs.
    I think that Government should be examining this process to make it genuinely fair to all, rather than just allowing FOS to finance their existence through case fees.

  14. @Stuart Duncan

    Would you say that those who were outspoken about this long before you discovered its inadequacies were much maligned?

  15. @Phil Castle
    Phil you have to experience the FOS first hand to understand why firms and advisers alike hold the FOS in total contempt.

    I once asked an adjudicator what qualification and experience he had to enable him to review my file (a fair question in anybodies mind) – his response was atterly astonishing –

    “I do not have to justify myself to any of you ludites, we make the rules, you lot just have to live with the consequences” – astonishing but true, I even have it on tape.

  16. @ DR D – I don’t disbelieve you. The appointment however is of a new person to the roll. If we lynch them before they have had a chance to effect change, we might lynch someone who woudl improve things.
    I have been involved with complaints on behalf of clients which went to FOS and the first two members of staff were USELESS, but when we finally got through the initial rejection of the clients complaints to an actual ajudicator, they were actually very good and the complaint was handled correclty as my client had accepted contributory negligence, but Barclays Stcokbrokers had denied ANY responsinbility until we finally got the ajudicator to actually obtain Barclays telehpne recordings (all deals are recorded) and made sure the Ombudsman listen to MY recordings of trying to sort out the clients mistake with Barclays.
    The stupidity of both the FOS and Barclays cost EVERYONE time and money which could have been avoided as my client had offerred to submit to true alternative dispute resolution (ADR) by working with a mediator to find a solution. The cost would have been LESS than the FOS fee that Barclays sufferred in addition to the re-imbursement my client got in the end.
    FOS should be an option ONLY after mediation. Our client contract stipulates mediation first as we want to resolve things, NOT argue the merits.

  17. After six years at the FOS, observing it veering further to bias against “big financial businesses and their staff” this consumer champion seems in alignment with the drift. How much better had it been someone proud of their independence of both consumer and big business.

  18. Another case of Jobs for the boys, collecting his 30 pieces of silver, after stitching up Aviva Policyholders.

  19. FOS is a flawed creature – much like non-identical conjoined twins with the FSA being the uglier brother.

    I can recount virtually limitless tales of FOS inadequacy, such as an adjudicator confusing MS with ME on an income protection claim, an Ombudsman opholding an endowment complaint even though the client had been sent a letter offering a choice of repayment methods and two illustration that clearly showed potential for a shortfall.

    We have heard about the FSA telling FOS that a certain percentage of complaints should be upheld to bolster consumer confidence.

    We know of an ex FOS adjudicator who has exposed unsavoury practices wherein evidence is ignored and the logic of the law is forsaken in favour of the consumer.

    Sooner or later it will become apparent to even the most fervent consumer champion that the FOS is a capricious organsiation that jumps when the FSA shouts and purposefully misinterprets evidence to achieve the result it prefers.

  20. Perhaps he will stop the management from bullying the staff and stop the 22% attrition rate.

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