The Financial Ombudsman Service has shifted its focus from being a consumer champion to concentrate on achieving consistent adjudications, according to Lansons public affairs and regulatory consulting director Richard Hobbs.
Speaking at a panel session on the Financial Conduct Authority held by The Financial Services Forum and Lansons last week, Hobbs said the FOS “is narrowing its ambitions”. He said: “The big complaint we hear from the industry is that the FOS puts out inconsistent adjudications. Consequently, there is a major quality assurance project under way and I think a quiet narrowing of the ambition of the ombudsman service.”
A FOS spokeswoman says the organisation never set out to be a consumer champion.
She says: “We have always been committed to consistency and impartiality although perhaps we are better at more regularly communicating this now.
“A key development in this area is the industry liaison e-panel which was set up a year ago. It acts as an online forum for the FOS and the industry to communicate, alongside regular face-to-face meetings. This has greatly enhanced the number of industry practitioners and trade bodies that we are actively engaged with outside of specific cases.”