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Law unto themselves

James Salmon’s analysis (Money Marketing, January 5) was amusing on a number of fronts.

The Financial Ombudsman Service spokesman is quoted using words implying that only the dimmest of adviser would not have pointed out to clients that proposed law is only that and there is always a possibility that things will turn out differently. Who can argue with that?

Apparently, the normally very sensible Nick Bamford thinks the FOS and FSA need to instruct advisers on using a modicum of intellect. Perhaps he was quoted out of context.

John Lawson seems to believe that assurances given by ministers that there would be no U-turn could be taken as gospel. What country has he been living in lately? The idea that assurances from politicians can be used as the basis of major financial decisions is risible.

I was most taken by the quote from a solicitor saying there is nothing to stop the FOS operating outside its jurisdiction. As someone with a modicum of legal training, that struck me as odd. I thought we had stuff like ultra vires in the law of England. Furthermore, I have assisted a client in winning a complaint to the FOS (most certainly in its jurisdiction) and the adjudication has been overturned by a judicial review obtained by, guess which firm – Fishburns. Perhaps Clare Ward Smith is looking forward to more work along those lines.

The lesson of all this is very simple – if something seems too good to be true, it usually isn’t going to happen.

Mark Potter

Ethos Financial Management, Alresford, Hampshire

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