I am writing in response to the news that financial advisers are being urged to sign a petition calling for a vote of no confidence in the Financial Ombudsman Service (FTAdviser, 15 January).
Even, it seems – very worryingly – to the point that if a consumer complaint is not possible to uphold on the basis of evidence available and/or probability, another way is found.
In some cases, from past Panacea surveys, this means Fos re-engineering a complaint to create a successful one that the client did not make in the first place or had any issue with.
Confidence in a fair and unbiased ombudsman service is vital, and the right of all who use or engage with the service – the complainant and those complained about.
There is much concern both inside and outside the industry about the restoration of consumer trust, and we agree that much still needs to be done.
What really stands out from more than 300 community members who very kindly responded with such enthusiasm to our Fos surveys, is the huge number of added comments that really speak volumes.
These suggest that Fos needs to look closely at what it does, how and why.
Alarm bells should be ringing very loudly for example when:
82 per cent of respondents do not think Fos adjudications are fair;
92 per cent of respondents do not think adjudicators have a solid industry understanding of the issues they adjudicate on;
90 per cent of respondents think that Fos rules place IFAs in a disadvantaged position from outset;
97 per cent of respondents feel that a claimant should have to produce relevant tangible evidence to support the claim they make before the case can be considered; and
a staggering two thirds of respondents have experienced false or manufactured claims in an attempt to gain compensation