FOS re-affirms support for ‘essential’ dispute resolution changes
The Financial Ombudsman Service has reiterated its advocacy for changes to the financial services dispute resolution framework recommended in the latest Ramsay Review interim report.
In a statement yesterday, FOS said the “Implementation of the Ramsay Review recommendations as an integrated package of measures will greatly enhance fairness, openness, simplicity and adaptability in external dispute resolution”.
Back in December, ifa reported that advisers favoured the Ramsay Review recommendation of more frequent independent reviews into FOS as well as the appointment of an “independent assessor” to investigate the way FOS handles disputes.
In its submission to the interim report, FOS said it supported this recommendation and was in the process of hiring an “independent assessor”, but that “a full scope independent review of a scheme of the scale and size of FOS is a major, costly, and time-consuming exercise”.
Instead, any further frequent reviews should focus on specific issues - “This could be a follow up to check the implementation of previous recommendations [or] a particular area of current focus…” FOS said.
FOS also voiced support for the establishment of a single industry ombudsman scheme for financial, credit and investment disputes (other than superannuation disputes) to replace FOS and the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO).
FOS said that multiple schemes with overlapping jurisdictions result in consumer confusion, while competition between schemes hampers innovation and puts a strain on achieving better outcomes for consumers. Duplicative costs and inefficient allocation of resources is also an issue of multiple schemes, FOS said.
In its submission, FOS sets out a suggested transition plan for the merging of FOS and CIO.
FOS chief ombudsman Shane Tregillis said, “We look forward to the final report by the Ramsay Panel and working on the implementation of these significant reforms with key stakeholders.”
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