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PIA Ombudsman – judge, jury and executioner

I wish to express my sincere thanks to all the IFAs and professionals within the financial services industry who have contacted me offering unanimous support following the publication of my letter (MM, September 27).
What is frightening is the colossal number of wholly and utterly illogical and unjust judgments by the PIA Ombudsman.
Judgments which only reiterate my view that the PIA Ombudsman has a complete lack of understanding as to how certain aspects of the financial service industry work.
Judgments which are simply lining the pockets of some members of the general public.
The information I have received indicates that there should be an immediate and complete review of the knowledge and experience of the PIA Ombudsman and that the position should be occupied by a number of former practitioners from the financial services industry.
As IFAs – more than ever before – we can no longer be a jack of all trades and a master of none. Within our own partnership, individuals are specialising within certain aspects of the financial services industry as we are no longer able to amass and retain the vast amount of knowledge to be a master of all trades.
Yet the Ombudsman is asked to rule on cases which cover all facets of the financial services industry. I remain totally unconvinced that the PIA Ombudsman is able to clearly understand and have a complete knowledge of all aspects of the financial services industry.
The PIA Ombudsman is judge, jury and executioner with no right of appeal and his judgments are about to be legally binding through a court of law. If we have not finally arrived at “big brother” then God help us all when it does finally arrive.
However, I am a realist. Nothing will happen. None of our trade associations will do anything, neither will the insurance companies for fear of losing business.
As IFAs we cannot stand up and be counted as we are simply threatened with a “withdrawal of our registration” and thus a loss of our livelihoods.
We simply accept what goes on around us and, like me, highlight the injustices but never do anything about them.
What a frightening admission of our inability to stand up for our rights. When it comes to the crunch we really are a load of wimps – myself included.

Christopher C Mellor
The Financial Management Group, Amersham, Bucks


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