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FSA appoints Ombudsman Steering Group

30 March 1998

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today announced the appointment of a Steering Group, chaired by Laurie Slade, to carry forward the work needed to create the single Ombudsman Scheme announced by Ministers in December. The Group will comprise the principal Ombudsman from each of the existing schemes and a senior representative from the FSA. It will develop the detailed arrangements required to bring together the existing complaints handling schemes.

Howard Davies, Chairman of the FSA, said:

I am pleased to announce the establishment of the steering group and delighted both that Laurie Slade has agreed to chair it and that all the Ombudsmen are taking part. Laurie Slade brings a wealth of experience, of both statutory and voluntary complaints handling systems, and is therefore ideally placed to help the Group identify and meet the challenges that lie ahead. It is important that practical issues relating to the construction of the new scheme are taken forward and I am sure that, with the co-operation of all involved, we can make a lot of progress rapidly, building on the achievements of the existing schemes.

The FSA has also announced the first decisions following its consultation on arrangements for complaints-handling issued in December. Decisions made so far are:

  • In addition to compulsory membership for all FSA authorised firms (as already announced by Ministers), non-FSA firms will be eligible to join the scheme on a voluntary basis;
  • The coverage of the scheme will go beyond those activities which require FSA authorisation, but will be limited to financial services activities;
  • The new Ombudsman scheme will be set up as a separate company with its own Board, in order to secure its independence both from the industry and from the FSA;
  • The Chairman of the Ombudsman Scheme Board will be appointed by the FSA with HMT approval; all other members of the Board will be appointed in the public interest by the FSA;
  • Appointments of Ombudsmen will be made by the Scheme's Board;
  • There will be no separate independent appeals mechanism. The requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights as to the fairness of proceedings will be built into the internal processes of the Scheme.

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