16 Aug 2018
Did you believe the FOS help complainants create a complaint where none existed?
This was just one of 15 questions answered in the FOS survey we ran during June & July which received 212 responses. Many thanks to all of you who completed the survey and for the hundreds of really inciteful comments that really put some flesh on the answer bones. As with all our surveys, it is the comments that make for such interesting reading.
The final ‘score on the door’ for that question? 66% believe that the FOS help complainants create a compliant where none existed!
Very worrying indeed, but it is some comments added, beyond a simple yes or no that should really start ringing bells with the FOS. For this question some comments were:
Another question asked was: “Do you think FOS rules and process place an adviser or firm in a 'guilty until you prove your innocence' position from outset or have you generally found them to be fair?”
83% agreed, some comments are:
Worryingly, we also observed the following:
— 55% of respondents had no idea as to who the FOS is accountable to.
— 72% had experienced false or manufactured claims with a view to obtaining compensation
— 95% felt that the adviser should have the same rights as the complainant to appeal to the courts when unhappy with a decision rather than an than expensive judicial review
Full results will be shared with you soon, but in the meantime, a copy of the results has been sent to the Treasury Select Committee, the FOS and the FCA.
As yet we have had no responses apart than from the FCA thanking us for “sharing the findings of your latest FOS survey. It makes for interesting and occasionally provocative reading”.
The survey results have also been picked up by FT Adviser who were interested to know if the report findings were perceptional or based on actual experiences?
Our view is that although we cannot be 100% sure, either flags an issue. If perceptional then the FOS has work to do the change those perceptions. If they are actual, then work is required there too.
We hope, in regulatory speak, that ‘learnings’ will be taken from this to ensure that the original intent for any Ombudsman is to resolve complaints based upon the balance of probability and/ or any evidence that may be available.
We do not look to favour one side over the other, but looking at all of our FOS surveys from 2011 to 2018 there does appear to be a consistent and ongoing view in the world of financial advisers that simply cannot be ignored.