Is the Financial Ombudsman Service Independent?

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)

If you thought the FOS were independent think again

The FOS is a “complaints handling” service

According to their website – their “customers” are firms, financial and otherwise!

I have a few issues over at the FOS, and they are not being handled properly (in my opinion). So I made a few Freedom of Information requests and this is what I found out. Decide for yourself whether these guys act for you – independently of their “customers” (firms).

This is how the FOS works, any firm can pass a “complaint” to the FOS for handling, this usually takes place after 8 weeks if the “firm” is unable [OR UNWILLING] to resolve a complaint. The matter will then be referred to the FOS, and you will be invited to write out your complaint again on FOS forms. (This will naturally deter a percentage of people).

The FOS is a private arbitration Court/service; their decision is binding on the firm. But it is NOT binding upon you!

For having access to the FOS, each firm will pay annual fees + each firm will pay approximately £450.00 per case referred to the FOS.

In relation to credit and finance, the industry funds the FOS complaints handling service. This means “conflict of interest” – allow me to demonstrate.

During 2010/2011, Santander paid £7 million to the FOS in case handling fees, these are complaints that years back, Santander would have to resolve itself?

During 2011/2012, the FOS received £151.9 Million in fees from firms (Big Business) and they made a profit in excess of £20 million! But wait for it… what about the staff…? Surely if there was a conflict of interest staff would be well paid…? Right? The FOS Board consists of non-executive directors and these guys met just 11 times during 2011/2012 for which they get paid on average: Chairman – £74,970 in fees, committee chairs/senior independent directors £26,265 and non-executives £21,420. Gwyn Burr, Director at Sainsbury’s Bank is one of these non-executives – and they call that “independent”? The Executive team owners follows for y/end Natelie Ceeney (CEO) £236,444

Tony Boorman £262,503

Julia Cavanagh £292,290

David Creswell £137,993

Caroline Wayman £163,230

Jacqueline Wigget £138,136

David Thomas £69,511

Simon Rouse £105,951

this includes lucrative pension plans

Adjudicators receive an average of £47,000 pa – the job description was enclosed in the FOI. However, there are NO RECORDS as to how many are legally qualified!

Of the 222,333 complaints received during 2011/2012, more than 157,000 were PPI related, however, PPI has already been ruled on so why is there a need to refer so many complaints to FOS?

The FOS proudly announces that including PPI claims more than 64% of consumers receive compensation – no shit – but removes the PPI complaints and that figure falls dramatically to around 30%! No actual pound amounts in close!

The Police do NOT investigate claims of fraud committed by banks and financial firm. They refer people to the FOS. The FOS, however, as confirmed by FOI does NOT refer suspected fraud cases to the Police! And the FOS maintains NO RECORDS of such cases!

Executives at the lucrative expense account too! Salary banding for staff are as follows:

7 x Executives on £115K – £185K

75 x ombudsmen, lead ombudsmen, managing ombudsmen on £58,807  – hundred and £12,267!

38 x heads of dept, senior managers on £55K – £107K

128 x managers on £26K – £56K

1048 x case handlers £24.5K – £56K

123 x helpline staff on £28K – £34K

152 x casework staff on £16K – £52K

110 x support staff £18.5K – £51K

and you’re telling me there is no conflict of interest?

The FOS is a business! It serves firms, it is NOT in the interests of the FOS, or staff to screw its customers (firms). It is however, in the interests of the FOS to screw you and send you on your way, with the belief that an “independent” body has passed “Judgment”  – this is NOT the case!

The FOS can award up to £150K in damages and demand that the waiver of any balance. However – it does NOT keep records of specific financial awards…. (strange that). But the FOS does keep records of trips and falls, of which there were 6 in 2011/12 and 41 incident requiring attendance by a first aider!

During 2011/12, an independent assessor received £75,804 for a 3 day week, plus pension contributions of £10,892 and other benefit of £2035.

The non-exec team earned £269,246 between them – but hey – they did have to meet up 11 times – so come on, be fair! Well earned I say, haha!

So what can we glean from this information….. the FOS is a complaints handling business. Its customers are firms who wish to offload complaints to the FOS. The FO F gives the appearance of an “independent” body but it is NOT independent! It serves the needs of its customers (firms).

Payment Protection Insurance Claims have already been decided on by the Courts, hence why were 157,000+ PPI claims referred to the FOS @ £450 a pop? Answer – mutual benefit. When firms demand complaints in writing a percentage of consumers (us lot) will not bother. By referring complaints to the FOS a further percentage of consumers will not bother filling out more forms. And then the FOF plays a balancing game by serving the needs of its customers (firms) versus what is lawful, just balance and fair………. sweet!

95% of all complaints came from the BIG 4 Financial Groups, of which Gwyn Burr works with one – Bank of Scotland (via Sainsburys Bank!).

For further reading regarding this, you can watch the rest of the video below.

I would like to thank:

WhiteRabbitEducation

for allowing me to publish the text version on my site.


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Is the Financial Ombudsman Service Independent? — 6 Comments

  1. The Financial Ombudsman is a fraud on the public. The ombudsman is there as the public’s agent in cases of disputes with the financial services industry. I turned to them for help and they turned a simple request into a nightmare, please if you value your sanity stay well away from them and go and get advice for a lawyer. At least with a lawyer you will know that you are dealing with a professional who is fully accountable for his actions and the advice you receive. The Ombudman’s service is not, it is staffed with totally inappropriately qualified staff, that is if you are fortunate to find a member of their staff that has qualification other than a few GCSEs.

    There is Infomation that is forbidden to be posted up here, Date Protection Act etc etc. however if you care to do an Internet search, a QC’s view of the Financial Ombudsman, you will find that eminent person’s comment that the Financial Ombudsman is an affront to the Rule of Law………could you believe that,well I had to read it five times to be sure of what I was reading.

    Then another search for Financial Ombudsman Whistlerblower will shock you ridged.

    Once on this track you will find out so many things that the average person will shocked ridged to understand, and to be unbelievably incredible that are going on in the obviously corrupt manner in which UK’s Financial Ombudsman’s Office is being run.
    That in itself is bad enough, but when you actually see the Official Ombudsman’s web site and the actual Ombudsman’s description of the service that they would like you the public to believe that they deliver, then the Great British Deception becomes apparnent. They, the ombudsman for whatever reason are ripping off the vulnerable citizen and smiling at you as they do so.

    Some are saying that the Ombudsman is in the pocket of the Financial Servises Imdustry, After all it is the Financial Services Insdustry that funds the Ombudsman’s function, but here again it is up to you the public to decide these issues.

    For part part I feel that there is something very seriously flawed in the performance of the Ombudsman’s duties. Perhaps that fact that there is little or no public accountabilty, in fact I believe that the Ombudsman is accountablrpe to non and this could well be the reason why they are openly able to function with a taint of draconian corruption, but here again their case history lays before then for you to judge for yourselves.

    I am in the process of petitioning my MP over the conduct of the Ombudsman also I am aware of a number of others doing the same, and they share an overall opinion that the ombudsman’s is not only an affront to the rule of Law as the barrister above opined, but a grave insult to our democracy!

    In the name of justice for the vulnerable please don’t let them get away which such abuses as the Financial Ombudsman under Caroline Wayman is a direct a front to the Rule of Law and therefore can only be termed as an evil organisation.

      • We all need to be aware of what these people are up to under the guise of The People’s Agent commonly known as the Ombudsman.

        The office of Ombudsman in my opinion have a hidden agenda to undermine The Rule of Law and the Democratic process of addressing wrongs.

        The totally ignore all Human Rights Legislation often leaving those who turn to them for help more confused and vulnerable that they were to start with.

        There must be a proper full Parliamentary inquiry into what theses subversive anti democratic people are really all about. To me it would certainly appear that they are in the pockets of the Financial Services Industry and that they feel very much untouchable by the law of the land that abuse so openly.

  2. You have both summed up all of my own thoughts. The same applies to the FCA! I have an ongoing issue were they gave me incorrect information by saying a certain firm were unregulated , directing me to the FOS.
    I replied questioning their role? Asked why lenders could chose to opt in or out of regulation. It makes no sense.
    I asked many questions and when they replied, instead of answering the questions relating to themselves they returned to the company I’d originally enquired about and began to give me the truth. Eg “I think you should know that the firm in question is an appointed rep of principle firm X and therefore principle firm X is responsible for their actions and oh what was that…. principle firm X are regulated by the FCA. So basically they witheld this very vital info. How is that protecting the consumer!!!

    Thanks for a great read anyway guys! 🙂

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