Merricks, who helped to set up the FOS, will become the first chair of the Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator, a new organisation.
Under his tenure, the FOS has handled over five million consumer enquiries and resolved 750,000 disputes between consumers and financial businesses.
He says: “The ombudsman service has found a permanent place in the consumer-protection framework for financial services and I am confident that the organisation will continue to be valued by financial firms and by consumers alike.”
Jamieson Financial Management principal Bruce Jamieson says: “I have not been impressed by the ombudsman service at all. They do not seem to behave even-handedly on investment inquiries.”
Capital Asset Management managing director Alan Smith says: “I think he has actually shown some good leadership over some difficult times.”
Brunning Newman Houghton director David Brunn- ing says: “He was even-han- ded and did not seem to be swayed by political actions or kneejerk decisions. It would be very bad with a hard-line political appointee rather than another equitable, fair-minded person.”
Beachcroft Regulatory Consulting managing director Richard Hobbs says the obvious internal candidate would be Tony Boorman.
He says: “The debate will be over whether Merricks’ successor should be lawyer or not. It should be a layperson, in my view.”
The non-executive FOS board will start the process to find a replacement shortly.