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Mortgage complaints move

Financial Ombudsman Service chief ombudsman Walter Merricks is inviting mortgage intermediaries to join the service two years earlier than they will be obliged to by the FSA.

At the LIA Conference last week, Merricks said once mortgage advice comes under the FSA umbrella in 2004, intermediaries will automatically become part of the ombudsman scheme so it makes sense for them to join now.

Merricks said: “It must seem a little odd to a consumer of an IFA firm who is told complaints over everything but mortgages, long-term care and private medical insurance policies are covered by the ombudsman scheme.”

FOS head of communications David Cresswell says there will be a consultation soon on how best to incorporate mortgage advisers under the scheme but advisers are welcome to join now.

Currently, complaints about mortgages are referred to the Mortgage Code Arbitration Scheme, a complaints&#39 handling service linked to the MCCB.

Cresswell says: “Rather than just opening the floodgates on a particular date in 2004 they would already be used to operating within our parameters.”

London & Country head of operations and compliance Patrick Bunton says: “This is a moot point. The FSA complaints register lists a loan secured on land as being one of the products that complaints about can be referred to the FOS. One interpretation is that mortgages could already be referred to the FOS anyway.”

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