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MAS now grooming complaints?

Panacea comment

2 Dec 2013

Advisers, and others who fund the Money Advice Service will not be best pleased.

With MAS also not hitting the spot with the TSC, I came across by complete accident last week an attempt by the MAS to groom complaints, not quite what one should expect from such an organization is it?

They have a section on ‘Endowment Complaints and it stated the following:

If you feel you were mis-sold your policy you need to put your complaint in soon, because there is a deadline looming.

You have either:

  • six years from when the policy was sold, or
  • three years from when you realised the policy was potentially mis-sold

For many people this latter date is the most important and it coincides with when they received a letter from their endowment provider warning them of an expected shortfall in their policy.

However, if you didn’t fully understand this letter at the time and have only just realised you may have been mis-sold your product, there is still time to put in a complaint. Just make it clear that you are within three years of when you fully understood the situation regarding your endowment and realised it was mis-sold.

This statement was followed with a link to the ‘Which’ website to download a standard complaint letter.

This is very worrying and you would think that the MAS would consult the DISP rules before making such a statement.

The DISP rules are very clear:

The Ombudsman cannot consider a complaint if the complainant refers it to the Financial Ombudsman Service:

(1) more than six months after the date on which the respondent sent the complainant its final response or redress determination; or

(2)  more than:

(a)  six years after the event complained of; or (if later)

(b)  three years from the date on which the complainant became aware (or ought reasonably to have become aware) that he had cause for complaint;


(3) in the view of the Ombudsman, the failure to comply with the time limits in DISP 2.8.2 R or DISP 2.8.7 R4,5 was as a result of exceptional circumstances;


1An example of exceptional circumstances might be where the complainant has been or is incapacitated

Oscar Wilde once said that “Most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes”.

It’s not working here MAS is it?

And it is certainly not fair and reasonable to suggest that by simply saying you did not “fully understand” is sailing very close to the wind in the eyes of many advisers and we are pleased that our research has now resulted in this 'error' being corrected.

Grooming a ‘consumer’ to be, shall we say, economical with the truth to obtain pecuniary advantage is simply inappropriate.

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Comments (6)

There is something definitely not quite right about this. We pay and they do this?

Add in the fact that even Parliament think they are a waste of time and what have you got?

A duff organisation, fighting to retain it's cushy stipend starting to scratch and snarl to stay alive.

In nature such things get shot.

Harry Katz   09/12/2013   09:03
This is appalling. I write to the FCA on issues, and get responses. I actually think they value genuine concerns (note their changed stance a bit on Section K of RMAR). Of course what we really need is ONE overall professional body to get these views across at highest level. But then we've needed that for decades and it hasn't happened. In absence of this maybe an agreed approach to urge all advisers to adopt - write to MP, Treasury Seelct Committee, FCA.

ag   09/12/2013   09:30
The whole structure of regulation is fundamentally corrupt. It certainly has no basis in the rule of law (as one Financial Catastrophe Authority apparatchik recently confirmed to me when challenged - his silence was eloquent). Furthermore there can be no such thing as 'mis-selling' since no coercion is used in selling. In addition if you accept 'mis-selling' you must also accept the existence of 'mis-buying'. In which case the 'mis' bit cancels itself out.
In re the actual instances above, quite what did you expect? The MAS is the tool of the self-serving bureaucrats at the FCA who must at all costs keep the problem (however illusory) going to keep their parasitical employment.

Oh, and we do not pay for the MAS failure - our clients pay for it.

Steven Farrall   09/12/2013   09:57
@steven farrell You may wish to read this on miss-buying.

"A firmsí regulatory failure can then be easily based, if public outcry, regulatory face saving or political opinion warrants it, on what will see a positive outcome for the regulator, politicians and even the consumer, regardless of the advisory firm following all the rules and the advice processes to the letter.

This is because in regulatory land the existence of a consumer miss-buying, possibly hindsight induced by having changed circumstances, aims and aspirations or being wise with the benefit of that same hindsight simply does not compute".

Derek Bradley   09/12/2013   10:03
I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong but I believe I recently saw the MAS say that they are funded by the government without ANY mention of funding by the industry, let alone IFAs.
Does anyone else remember seeing that?

Michael Both   12/12/2013   14:34
Why the intro to ?which too, a commercial organization, NOT a charity?

Phil Castle   13/12/2013   12:28


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