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IFAs face new bill for ombudsman

All IFAs may have to help foot the bill for the new Financial Ombudsman Service even if they have never had a complaint brought against them.

It is proposed that half of the service&#39s costs, estimated at £20m to £25m annually, will be met by a general levy across the industry. The other half will come from case fees charged against firms with complaints brought against them.

The plans will be the subject of an FSA consultation paper this autumn. At present, the ombudsman&#39s costs are met purely from case fees.

Principal Investment and PIA Ombudsman Jane Whittles says all firms will be asked to pay in a bid to build consumer confidence as well as to foster a sense of membership. The levy will be banded according to size.

The FOS will be holding eight roadshows across the country to explain how it works. The first is on Sep-tember 7 at Derby County football ground.

Whittles says: “We are keen to have a system where the wider value of the ombuds-man is recognised. IFAs will benefit from the halo effectof having our name on theirstationery.”

The FOS has two purpose- built rooms to give complainants the right to a hearing as required by the Human Rights Act which comes into force in October.

Interview, p8

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