The Financial Ombudsman Service has set out its five-year strategy, in a document published alongside its annual report.
The 10-page document set out what Fos stipulated were its three strategic priorities for the next five years: enhancing its service, preventing complaints and unfairness and building an organisation with the capabilities it needs for the future.
This will include investing to ensure complaints are dealt with thoroughly and in a timely manner, despite the ever-rising number of complaints coming to the ombudsman.
As Richard Thompson, principal ombudsman and quality director for the Fos, said this will mean being “focused on how we can shrink waiting times while maintaining this high quality”.
Fos said it will continue to work with other regulators and industry bodies, to find better ways of using its insight to achieve fairer outcomes, with a view to preventing complaints and unfairness arising in the first place.
The ombudsman also pledged to reflect the needs of the consumers who come to it by having a broader and more diverse workforce.
Caroline Nugent, director of human resources for Fos, said: “We’re proud to be a diverse workplace, where people of all backgrounds feel supported to perform at their best – and always delivering excellent customer service.”
This will also mean investing in the various channels by which complaints can be brought to the ombudsman, to ensure it is more accessible and easier to deal with.
Moreover, it said it would explore the rise in new product types and reliance on technology for consumers, which could mean the volume, value and volatility of detriment will be greater than in the past.
More people could be excluded, or unaware they’ve experienced detriment as a result, so this will be a focus for the ombudsman.
Baroness Zahida Manzoor CBE, chairperson of the Fos board, said: “We will continue to build on the trust, respect and reputation we have as a service, to serve our customers as their needs evolve.
“Our strategic priorities will guide and direct us as we take this journey to an even more efficient and effective service.”
On June 3, Fos also published its complaints data, which showed a 15 per cent fall in the number of complaints against advisers overall.
It reported it received 1,635 new complaints against advisers in the 2019/20 financial year, a drop on the 1,915 reported in the previous year.