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Watchdog is accused of breaching human rights

The Financial Ombudsman Service has been accused of violating an IFA&#39s human rights after refusing to grant an oral hearing over a pension misselling complaint.

IFA Dag Isaksen, of defunct firm Crosby Tinklin, says the FOS has effectively denied him his rights under the European Human Rights Act by not allowing him to confront his accuser at an open hearing.

Isaksen, who now works for Nottingham IFA Turner Rann, has sought advice from law firm ProAct Legal, which has told him although he is in the right it would cost more than the award made against him to fight it in the courts.

The ombudsman says it only grants oral hearings if there are new facts to be rai-sed which cannot be done through the normal process. It says it is aware of its obligations and that nothing in this case raises new issues.

Isaksen says: “I think they believe in the divine right of the ombudsman, they feel they are untouchable. It makes me feel so frustrated to know I am right but cannot afford justice.”

ProAct Legal partner Gareth Fatchett says: “If there is an issue of fact, the ombudsman must provide an oral hearing. Unless it can prove otherwise, they are in fundamental breach of the Human Rights Act.”

Financial Ombudsman Service head of communications David Cresswell says: “We are pretty certain about our legal position on this. It has been an issue on which an enormous amount of time has been spent. This is not the first case we have had to think about whether we are right or not.”

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Case study: administration — managing group life schemes

Our client leads the global market in high-tech electronics manufacturing and digital media. The trustees of the company’s final salary pension scheme insure death-in-service lump sum and dependants’ pension death benefits for active employees, as well as dependants’ pension benefits for deferred members (those who have left service).

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