Apfa meets Fos over adviser concerns

Apfa meets Fos over adviser concerns

Apfa has been holding meetings with Fos about concerns advisers have expressed over decisions the service has been reaching.

The director general of Apfa, Chris Hannant, said there were several issues his trade body would like to have clarified by Fos to ensure there was fairness in the system.

One of these is the splitting of cases – for example, in instances where husbands and wives both put forward complaints – meaning the £150,000 compensation limit is bypassed.

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Mr Hannant said: “In general there are concerns, such as cancellation of the compensation or splitting of cases, or advisers trying to get a conversation with the adjudicator to present their side of the case.

“The adjudicator’s role is to be even-handed, and some IFAs we have spoken with say they can’t get hold of the adjudicator to explain to them over the phone as well as put it into writing.

“One thing I would say to advisers out there is that we always need the evidence – details about specific cases – because without details like this we cannot demonstrate any evidence of bad decisions.”

Mr Hannant said he was having an “ongoing conversation” with Fos and had met with some of the service’s representatives.

According to the Fos Annual Review for 2014/15, complaints about IFAs made up only 1 per cent of the 329,509 total complaints to the service – the lowest of any financial sector. Banks were the highest complained-about sector.

Of the IFA complaints, only 39 per cent were upheld by an ombudsman or an adjudicator.

Right to reply

Fos spokesman Lena Nunkoo said: “We always try and keep an open dialogue and have regular conversation with the different trade associations – Apfa being one of them.

“More generally, sometimes during the initial conversation with a consumer or business it becomes apparent that there are several different issues going on which have led to the problem.

“Occasionally, it may be that these separate issues can be complex and far better addressed separately, or that they need to be sent to different specialist areas to be properly looked at.

“From our perspective we take a neutral stance, and are as happy to speak to businesses in complaints as we are consumers.”