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Watchdog prepares for surge in complaints

Steve Petrie is a consultant with John Joseph Financial

The Financial Ombudsman Service is setting up three sections dedicated to complaints against IFAs.

The three IFA-specific divisions will cover complaints relating to mortgage endowments, occupational pension products and all other types of complaints. The move follows a massive increase in its workload due to complaints relating to poorly performing mortgage endowment policies.

The FOS is in discussions with PI providers over streamlining complaints procedures.

Complaints involving IFAs take six to eight weeks longer to process than those through direct salesforces because of the involvement of an IFA&#39s professional indemnity insurers.

Speaking at the Money Marketing IFA UK Conference in London last week, FOS principal ombudsman (investment division) Jane Whittles said: “We have planned for an increase of 55 per cent in complaints relating to mortgage endowment policies for the year to March 2002 but I expect that figure to top 60 per cent.”

With a fresh wave of mortgage endowment shortfall projection letters set to go out in the coming weeks, the FOS is also bracing itself for more complaints. Only 15 per cent of all complaints to the FOS related to transactions carried out through IFAs compared with 85 per cent through direct salesforces.

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