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Financial Ombudsman Service officially becomes single port of call for financial disputes

- from 1 December

27 November 2001

At midnight on 30 November, the Financial Ombudsman Service officially becomes the single ombudsman for consumer complaints about financial products and services - taking over from the six former complaints schemes: the Banking and Building Societies Ombudsmen, the Insurance and Investment Ombudsmen, the PIA Ombudsman and the Securities and Futures Authority's Complaints Bureau.

The Financial Ombudsman Service has been set up by law to help consumers settle unresolved disputes with their bank, building society, insurance company, investment firm, financial adviser or stockbroker. Complaints ranging from travel insurance and pension plans to mortgages and investments can be dealt with under one roof, as part of a new package of complaints-handling rules.

The Financial Ombudsman Service - led by Chief Ombudsman, Walter Merricks - can step in to help resolve disputes where the consumer has already complained to the financial firm and remains dissatisfied.

Consumers with an unresolved complaint can get in touch with the Financial Ombudsman Service on the new single phone number 0845 080 1800.

Over a million copies of the new consumer leaflet Your complaint and the ombudsman have already been distributed to financial firms and consumer advice agencies across the UK, ready for use from 1 December.

notes for editors

  1. Set up by law under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, the Financial Ombudsman Service provides a single port of call for consumers with financial complaints - from pet insurance to pension plans, debit cards to stocks and shares.
    The Financial Ombudsman Service can help if consumers are unable to resolve a dispute with their bank, building society, financial adviser, insurance company, investment firm, stockbroker or unit trust company.
  2. The Financial Ombudsman Service has already been fully operational for the last eighteen months, handling disputes centrally on behalf of the six separate complaints schemes - the Banking and Building Societies Ombudsmen, the Insurance and Investment Ombudsmen, the Personal Investment Authority (PIA) Ombudsman and the Securities and Futures Authority (SFA) Complaints Bureau.
  3. From 1 December 2001 - the date commonly referred to as "N2" (when the Financial Services and Markets Act comes into force) - the Financial Ombudsman Service will have its own full legal powers and a new single set of rules.

media enquiries

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