Jan 22 – Ombudsman bites back

The FOS have set out their financial plans for 2022/23.  They are looking to raise an additional £10m from all firms to help fund their transformation programme.  In addition, as PPI complaints are all settled, the work of the service is becoming more complex with the average cost of each case increasing.  It is taking them more time, with more qualified and expensive case handlers, to reach adjudications.  This means that they need to raise more money.  Rather than seeing the cost of FOS fall as PPI evaporates, it is growing.

To fund this, rather than charging the firms that deliver these more complex cases in volume, they want to spread the cost across more firms.  The most complex cases are in the areas of pensions and investments and these take more time and expertise than others.

But the suggested solution in their recent consultation is to reduce the number of free cases from 25 to 3.  As Covid hit there was a plan to reduce the number of free cases to 10, but this was suspended to avoid financial damage to firms.  Despite the FCA still seeing the need to still undertake their Covid impact survey for the sixth time, FOS wants to add to firm’s costs.  The 3 free cases number was always not enough and creates significant cost jeopardy for firms who might want to defend low value consumer complaints.

AMI will be responding vigorously to these proposals and we would encourage all brokers to do the same.

Robert Sinclair, AMI Chief Executive
January 2022