FCA Consultation on Fees & Levies for 2024/25

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Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) – Future funding

Financial,Accounting,Stock,Market,Graphs,Analysis

FOS has released feedback to its discussion paper on future funding. In its 2023/24 Plans and Budget consultation (due in December 2022) it will consult on proposals to change the compulsory jurisdiction levy and voluntary jurisdiction levy to recover fixed costs; introduce a 12-month time limit for disputing fee cases and will trial changes to the group fee account arrangements.

Looking further forward, it plans to consult in its 2024/25 Plans and Budget consultation on proposals to differentiate case fees by case stage and/or by product type and charging and initial case fee at conversion.

It’s decided not to pursue the following proposals: making legislative changes to enable it to charge professional representatives (such as CMCs) to bring complaints to the service; charging businesses for delays due to non-compliance; discounts for bulk closures; and charging case fees based on case complexity.

AMI’s view

AMI is supportive of the FOS levy reflecting the service’s fixed costs (such as IT, property, and other support functions); this ensures greater transparency as the case fee will recover FOS’s costs more closely related to the costs to resolve cases (such as salaries of casework colleagues).

We are, however, concerned that FOS is exploring the possibility of charging different case fees dependent on the stage a complaint reaches. In AMI’s view, if a case goes all the way to an ombudsman, it isn’t necessarily a sign the case is more complex, it could just be that the consumer (or CMC, if involved) is more motivated to keep escalating (especially as there is no risk to the complainant for rejecting a decision). Whereas a firm may be less reluctant to allow the case to reach the next stage, unless it feels it has a strong case. It could also prevent valuable Consumer Duty cases from reaching ombudsman stage, which other firms could benefit and learn from.

We eagerly await the results of FOS’s data modelling (which is being carried out over the next 12 months) to help us provide feedback on this proposal as part of the FOS 2024/25 Plans and Budget consultation.

We will respond to the 2023/24 Plans and Budget consultation once issued.

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