Watchdog flags concerns on FCA and Fos information sharing

Several months later, the FCA began an enforcement investigation into the business but discontinued this in 2015 to focus its efforts on two individuals within the firm instead.

In June 2015 the Fos issued a new provisional decision rejecting the complaint, but nearly a year later it issued a second provisional decision finding in favour of the complainant and the FCA investigation into the individuals was discontinued shortly after.

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Eventually, in February 2017, a third ombudsman issued his decision, upholding the complaint against the firm.

Between the second and third Fos decision, the firm got hold of documents under the Freedom of Information Act which showed there had been correspondence and meetings between the ombudsman and the regulator where the issue had been discussed.

They also showed the FCA had received a preliminary decision from the Fos.

In response to Mr Townsend's ruling, the FCA said: "The FCA notes the Commissioner's decision not to uphold the complaint.

"We also note that the Commissioner has invited the FCA to discuss with the Fos whether there should be clear guidance about the circumstances in which information may be shared between the Fos and the FCA in advance of final ombudsman decisions.

"We will consider this in conjunction with the Fos."