Tenet has challenged the increase to the Financial Ombudsman Service’s award limit from £100,000 to £150,000, citing it as a further example of where IFAs are treated differently to other professions.
Tenet has criticised the FOS for operating under a system whereby a final decision cannot be appealed.
The network also says that changes to the way adjudicators and ombudsmen report on their findings will lead to a detailed report being replaced by a summary lacking the context of why an adjudicator has come to a certain decision.
Distribution and development director Keith Richards (pictured) says: “Whilst it is important that consumers have an appropriate mechanism to pursue complaints and are responded to fairly and within a reasonable timeframe, advisers also need to be treated fairly. Whilst there are some changes to the complaint handling rules that we consider sensible and indeed already incorporate into our processes, there are other elements that will add further challenge to an already impacted financial services sector.
“The current £100,000 limit is much higher than the limit for the new Legal Services Ombudsman which set by Parliament at £30,000; plus the legal profession has a long stop which we are still being denied. Again, the playing field seems to be less than level for the IFA community.”
The FSA announced the increase to the FOS award limit last month, after first proposing it in March 2010.
In October the regulator admitted that the increase in the award limit from £100,000 to £150,000 may push up the cost of professional indemnity insurance.
The new rules include the abolition of the “two-stage” complaints handling process to make sure firms resolve complaints fairly and do not dismiss them the first time. Firms will also have to nominate a senior individual responsible for complaints handling.
An FOS spokesman says: “Only a small percentage of the FOS’s caseload relates to cases over £100,000, and less than 1.5 per cent of complaints received last year were about IFAs. The FOS has not had an increase to its compensation limit since it was set up in 2001, and ultimately the increase is decided by the FSA rather than the FOS.”