View more on these topics

On to a loser with system

If I say that I handle complaints to the FOS for a number of IFAs, then your IFA readers will understand why it is always with a very profound sense of relief that I reflect that legal services in Scotland are not, as yet anyway, subject to the same surreal system.

Where you have a system in which a complaint may be raised without any sanction of adverse cost, no matter how spurious the grounds may be, and no sanction against telling anything other than the unvarnished truth, then it can come as no surprise either that the number of complaints soars or that the quality of evidence on which such complaints may be determined can be so poor. Lack of time and lack of evidence simply leads to speculation by adjudicators in place of factual assessment.

If you then add what appears to me to be an almost complete and widespread ignorance among adjudicators as to the concepts of investment risk, risk profiling and risk assessment, subjective hindsight then replaces objective assessment of the circumstances prevailing at the time that advice was given. If that is not enough, all too frequently, common sense and legal principle are rejected.

To top it all off, there is no means of appeal against the decisions of those who have more or less stated that they make up the law as they go along. A Star Chamber by any other name.

I offer the following extract from an FOS decision as a beacon of light and which I will most certainly include in every single FMDL for an IFA client and every response to an FOS complaint.

“At this point, I should explain that we are not regulators of the financial industry. It is not part of our role to supervise, regulate or discipline the firms we cover. Therefore, it is not for us to award punitive damages or to require a firm to alter its systems. Our role is simply to resolve individual disputes between consumers and financial firms, where consumers think they have lost out. We provide an informal alternative to the civil courts and we have the power to award monetary compensation to make good actual loss, damage or substantial inconvenience that is caused to a consumer by a breach of duty on the firm’s part.

“Whilst I appreciate the time you have spent on this matter, I am sorry to disappoint you but in my view the complaint would be unsuccessful if we were to investigate it further for the following reasons.

“The complainers made their own decision to proceed with the application and were not compelled to accept any proposals put to them.

“If the complainants were concerned regarding any terms and conditions, it would have been open to them to have raised their concerns with the firm before accepting its offer or perhaps seek the mortgage from another lender. The general legal principle is that a person is bound by the terms and conditions that they have signed, irrespective of whether they have read or understood them.

“We do not continue to look into a complaint where, in our view, it is clear it will not succeed. Accordingly, and for the reasons I have explained, I do not consider that the complainers’ complaint should be considered further.”

We will only achieve that level of common sense when the IFADU achieve their end in the European Court of Human Rights, and more power to Evan Owens’ elbow, and when this Government agrees to amend FSMA 2000 by creating an appeal procedure to challenge the idiocies of the FOS.

Alasdair SampsonPartner,

Drummond Miller WS,




Let’s rise from the Ashes

England’s success in the Ashes has captured the imagination of countless people who hitherto thought that cricket was boring. What we saw was two great sides showing tremendous professionalism and team spirit as they strove for one of the greatest prizes in their sport.

Henry catchpole

As his beloved football team, Ipswich Town, battle it out for a chance to join the big boys in the Premiership next season, so Suffolk Life’s chief executive is relishing the prospect of captain- ing a niche player in the growing Sipp market from next April. James Phillipps finds he is confid- ent of helping 25,000 or more clients to achieve their goals

SimplyBiz makes 950k profit

SimplyBiz has reached a pre-tax profit of 950,000 for the first six months of 2005, in less than three years. The support services provider says it is saving member firms over 10m in charges.SimplyBiz chairman Ken Davy says: To be able to announce that we have achieved a significant level of profitability during the first […]

Rignall joins Sesame to boost mortgages

Sesame has appointed Paul Rignall as mortgage product manager, joining from St James’s Place where he was mortgage marketing manager. He replaces Andy Young who left for TBMC in April. Rignall was responsible for mortgage and general insurance at SJP and he previously worked for Zurich. Rignall will be responsible for management and development of […]

The Natixis Solution: H2O MultiReturns Fund

A product designed to bring some unique attributes to the crowded absolute return global macro space With diversification and risk management top of investors’ wish lists when it comes to alternatives, step forward the H2O MultiReturns Fund. H2O Asset Management is an independent boutique backed by Natixis Global Asset Management and has a 14-year track […]


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