Financial Ombudsman Service  

Ombudsman to slash costs as PPI scandal nears end

“In this new model ombudsmen are like this little family of five or six and then five investigators.

“The ombudsman is responsible, right at the frontline, for those five people and they are sticking together and taking calls that are coming in.”

Mr Cresswell said these investigators were adjudicators who have applied for this new role, which has a different definition of what they are required to do.

He said: “Rather than being about an old fashioned product knowledge this is far more about understanding concepts of law, duty of care and fairness as it applies across the law.”

Mr Cresswell said the investigator takes a complaint call first and figures things out but with instant access to an ombudsman for additional questions to deal with the issue swiftly.

He said investigators would also quickly contact an adviser to inform them they had been complained about to establish if there are grounds for the grievance.

If either side is unhappy with the process the responsibility of making a decision about the complaint will go to another ombudsman.

Mr Cresswell said: “Every ombudsman has their home areas but 80 per cent of what they will do will be about related areas coming out of that.”

Liz Field, chief executive of the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association, said: "This is very good news as this is an area that most adds to costs for all our member firms."

Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, said: "There is no surprise for anyone that Fos will be reducing their staff count now that PPI mis-selling claims are coming to an end." 

Mr Cresswell spoke to FTAdviser about changes at the organisation after a Financial Ombudsman Service staff survey revealed many feel let down by senior bosses, who they claim fail to give a sense of direction or listen to feedback.

Just 19 per cent of staff polled believe senior management at the Financial Ombudsman Service provide a clear sense of direction and only 21 per cent think their top bosses are open to feedback, the staff survey seen by FTAdviser revealed.

When asked to comment on the findings of the survey, a spokesman for the ombudsman said the organisation had been through a lot of change over the last few years and “clearly there are areas where we can improve and we’ll be working on this.”

The poll of 2,259 members of ombudsman staff, conducted between 23 May and 16 June, also showed less than one in five (18 per cent) are confident senior management are making decisions which will benefit the service in the long run.

The survey, which was completed by 78 per cent of the ombudsman’s staff, also showed workloads vary considerably across the service.