View more on these topics

Merricks says FOS acting as a surrogate regulator

It may be “inescapable” that the Financial Ombudsman Service acts as a surrogate regulator due to a surge in single-issue complaints, claims chief ombudsman Walter Merricks.

In this month’s Ombudsman News, Merricks reveals the FOS has had over 25,000 payment protection insurance complaints since January, a fivefold rise from 5,000 complaints in 2007.

Merricks says responding to large-scale surges in complaints driven by single-issue consumer campaigns is becoming a regular feature of the FOS workload.

He says: “Traditionally, of course, the ombudsman’s role was seen as dealing with individual disputes relating to one-off issues. So some eyebrows may be raised at the idea of the ombudsman service now handling a workload involving thousands of similar complaints, all involving the same financial product or problem. The actions we necessarily have to take in order to address the complaints may result in our being accused of acting as a surrogate regulator but that may be inescapable.”

Merricks says the “ideal solution” to mass problems is for financial businesses to treat their customers fairly, either because they recognise it is the right thing to do or because of effective regulatory scrutiny.

He says: “Where this does not happen and a single issue arises that directly affects large numbers of consumers, it would surely best be resolved collectively rather than relying on individual consumers each having to make their own separate complaint.”

Philip J Milton and Company managing director Philip Milton says: “Why should the FOS have to get involved in widespread complaints such as payment protection insurance? When authorised firms receive complaints, they should reflect the FSA’s ruling on whether something was missold or not.”


Decision timing

Deciding whether people should stay in a qualifying pension scheme after 2012 is going to be tough. They will need the right information at the right time to help them make the right choice.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

Paul Fidell, Head of Business Development (Investments), writes about one of the primary challenges for those involved in estate planning. He looks at dealing with investment uncertainty in these low growth, low inflation but still volatile investment conditions. Protection of capital, to leave something for beneficiaries, is a fundamental objective of many people’s plans for […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm