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IFAs call for rethink on ombudsman&#39s case fees

IFAs are pressing for a shake-up of the Financial Ombudsman Service&#39s system of case fees for dealing with complaints.

At a round table meeting with chief ombudsman Walter Merricks hosted by Money Marketing, Hamptons International Mortgages managing director Kevin Duffy said the payment of case fees should be proportional to the costs generated by the firm in previous years.

Pearson Jones director Yvonne Goodwin said it would be fair if a firm does not pay if a case is found in its favour but should pay double – £720 – if it is in the wrong.

Tenet Group director Geoffrey Clarkson said the situation at present, whereby a firm does not pay a fee for the first two cases brought against it regardless of the outcome but pays £360 for subsequent cases, does not help big firms.

But Merricks said the vast majority of cases are not res-olved through one party “winning or losing” but by an agreement between the two parties being reached and to have a second dispute about whether the case was tech-nically won or lost would just drag out the process and increase costs.

Informed Choice managing director and Sofa chairman Nick Bamford said: “In an environment where we are trying to restore confidence in the industry, to impose a fee on the consumer would be a retrograde step.”

Merricks says: “When the FOS system was invented by the insurance industry, the industry itself decided that it would provide the money to pay for the system.”

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