Financial Ombudsman Service  

Fos chief steps down amid case backlog

Fos chief steps down amid case backlog

The chief executive of the Financial Ombudsman Service, Caroline Wayman, has stepped down after seven years in the role.

Wayman announced her resignation yesterday (March 10) after it was revealed that the ombudsman is facing a backlog of 158,000 complaints.

According to Money Mail, one in six complaints were over a year old and 11,648 dated back for more than two years.

Wayman publicly announced the decision via LinkedIn saying that it had been an "honour and a privilege to have led the service".

She has held the role of chief executive and chief ombudsman for seven years but has been at the Fos for a total of 22 years.

Wayman said: “The service has reached a pivotal point; in 2021 we expect to receive our final PPI cases and as nations, organisations and individuals, we are contemplating a landscape shaped and forever changed by a global pandemic. 

“It’s against this backdrop, that the service is embarking on the next phase of its journey and it’s time for me to do the same.”

She added: “I wish the board, the executive team and everyone at the service the very best and my thanks too goes to the many stakeholders with whom I have worked over the years. 

“What connects us all has been our shared commitment to the role of the ombudsman service and to keeping customers’ best interests at heart.”

In 2018, the Fos came under pressure to review thousands of its cases after a documentary by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme alleged some decisions may not have been fair to consumers.

At the time, it had been inundated with claims, handling more than 300,000 new claims a year.

Dispatches heard how investigators at the ombudsman had been churning out decisions as they scrambled to meet targets and that it had not been “ feasible” to handle all the claims.

Following this, Richard Lloyd, former executive director of consumer rights organisation Which, was called upon to launch an independent review into the service.

In July 2018, the 53-page review concluded there was no institutional bias against consumers but it raised concerns about the knowledge of some of the investigators.

amy.austin@ft.com

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