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new Financial Ombudsman Service to hold consultation workshop

10 December 1999

The new Financial Ombudsman Service, which will open its doors to the public in the second half of next year, will be holding a workshop on Monday 24 January to consult with the financial services industry and consumer organisations on the practicalities of what needs to be done before the proposed new arrangements for handling complaints come into force.

The workshop is aimed at people within the financial services sector who will be directly affected by the preparations for the new complaints-handling framework and who will be responsible for ensuring that their organisations make the necessary changes in time. These will include those responsible for complaints-handling framework and who will be responsible for ensuring that their organisations make the necessary changes in time. These will include those responsible for complaints-handling, customer service and compliance. Consumer representatives will also be invited.

The workshop will focus on the practicalities of introducing the new arrangements and seek feedback from those who will be affected by the changes. Details on how to attend the event are available from the workshop helpline on 0121 778 4070.

Walter Merricks, Chief Ombudsman, said:

During the current period of consultation, which we are carrying out jointly with the Financial Services Authority, we are very keen to gather as much information as we can on the practical implications of the new system for financial services providers. We want to ensure that they have as much notice as possible to make any necessary changes before we "go live" - and we want to understand the issues they face so that between us we can ensure that the most efficient service will be available to consumers.

Speakers at the consultation workshop will include Andreas Whittam Smith, Chairman of the new Financial Ombudsman Service, and Christine Farnish, Director of Consumer Relations at the FSA. Stephen Womack, financial correspondent at the Mail on Sunday, will talk about how consumers will view the change, and David Eastham, General Manager, Business Processes from the Halifax will discuss the principal issues from a practitioner's viewpoint.

As a result of an amendment to the Financial Services and Markets Bill, currently going through the Parliament, the name of the new organisation has now been shortened to the Financial Ombudsman Service, instead of the Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme as it was originally called in the draft legislation.

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