17 Feb 2016
Our FOS 2016 survey is showing some alarming results and even more alarming comments.
The following was one that is worth sharing with you.
The FOS have become a 'second regulator'. When the adjudicator told this firm that it was the TRANSFER ITSELF (ie Occ Pension Scheme to Drawdown) which was the issue, this showed the FOS prejudice against transfers of this nature and stating in no uncertain terms that, in effect, no such transfers should EVER take place.
They also are happy to take telephone calls from the complainant or their representative which puts the firm at a distinct disadvantage.
The complainant has to provide little or no information, other than stating on the form words to the effect of 'I have a complaint'. The question which used to appear on the FOS complaint questionnaire was 'When did you first realise you had a problem?' has been removed, presumably because people answered in many cases honestly and were, as a result, timebarred.
This firm tried to get this case timebarred but it was a waste of time. FOS are so reluctant to grant such a thing as it deprives them of the opportunity to find any fault with the firm's procedures at the time of the advice and, therefore, finding in the complainant's favour.
The file in this complaint was fully compliant in accordance with all the guidance issued by FSA/FCA. FOS has also stated that just because the file is fully compliant does not mean that the advice was suitable.
This firm believes it is a moot point whether it actually 'advised' the ex client or whether it merely provided the information the client requested in order to come to a decision.
The only recommendation by this firm was the name of the provider to whom the funds should be paid and who would issue the plan. The complainant had originally been told about the possibility of a Cash Equivalent Transfer into a personal arrangement by the Trustees of the Occupational Scheme and, as a result, the ex client came to this firm for information as he felt this was of great interest to him.
This information was given over a period of 16 months and included the signature by both himself and his wife on questionnaires answering questions about his risk profile and whether he understood the risk warnings and whether he had had these explained to him.
All these things were ignored by the adjudicator and the Ombudsman as they were inconvenient and got in the way of their decision which had already been decided on before they even opened the files the firm provided.
What are your thoughts and experiences on the FOS in 2016?