Only one-third of firms believe that the Financial Ombuds-man Service’s decisions are consistent and just over half say its decisions are fair and unbiased, according to the FOS’s own research.
The scathing assessment of the ombudsman comes in its annual report for 2006/07, released this week.
It found that only 36 per cent of firms agree that the FOS’s decisions are consistent, 58 per cent agree they are fair and unbiased and 50 per cent say its role is essential for confidence in financial services.
Thirty-five per cent agree its service is good value for businesses which pay the case fees and 62 per cent agree it provides a good dispute resolution service for businesses.
For consumers, 59 per cent agree decisions on cases are fair and unbiased and 47 per cent agree it settles disputes within an acceptable length of time.
The report revealed that while the overall proportion of disputes involving IFAs fell slightly by 2 per cent to 12 per cent, the proportion of mortgage endowment complaints against IFAs rose by 4 per cent during the year to 21 per cent.
Mortgage endowment cases represent 83 per cent of complaints against IFAs compared with 79 per cent last year.
Spokeswoman Emma Par-ker says: “These results were not weighted and the bigger firms which have more cases and are in a better position to judge on issues such as consistency and value were far more positive in their response.”