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ombudsman news

issue 41

November 2004

welcome to mortgage and long-term care insurance firms

Walter Merricks
chief ombudsman

I am pleased to have this opportunity to welcome mortgage broking and long-term care insurance firms which, since 31 October 2004, have been authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and are therefore also now covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Although this change brings about a significant increase in the number and types of firms that we cover, we are not expecting a large increase in the number of complaints referred to us from these sectors. However, we recognise that - for many firms - this will be the first time that they have had to comply with the procedures and time limits in the FSA's complaints-handling rules. We have already undertaken a number of initiatives to try to ensure that the new arrangements result in as little disruption and as much benefit as possible, both for us and for the firms newly covered by us. Among these initiatives is the series of events we have been running this year - at venues around the country - for firms in the mortgage and general insurance sectors.

As well as resolving complaints, the ombudsman service works with firms to help prevent complaints by identifying and reducing problems that might otherwise lead to expensive and time-consuming disputes. The range of services we offer firms as part of this complaints-prevention work includes:

  • our technical advice desk, dedicated to answering firms' queries about the ombudsman service and its general approach (call 020 7964 1400
    or email technical.advice@financial-ombudsman.org.uk)
  • regular copies of this newsletter, ombudsman news, providing articles and case studies illustrating our approach to the wide variety of cases referred to us
  • tailor-made training, conferences and seminars on complaints-handling issues (call 020 7964 1400 or email outreach@financial-ombudsman.org.uk).

Firms will also find a wealth of information on our website. Of particular interest is our web page that outlines the help we offer firms

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news issue 41 [PDF format]

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.