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the Financial Ombudsman Service appoints Jane Whittles as Principal Ombudsman (Investment)

2 May 2000

The Financial Ombudsman Service - the complaints-handling scheme being set up by law to provide a single port of call for consumers with unresolved disputes with financial services firms - today announced the appointment of Jane Whittles as Principal Ombudsman (Investment).

Jane Whittles will join the Financial Ombudsman Service in mid-June from OFTEL, where she has been Director of Compliance since 1998 responsible for competition, licence enforcement and consumer complaints. Before that, she worked for the Inland Revenue, with senior responsibilities in oil taxation, foreign banking, the Special Compliance Office and the London Regional Executive Office.

Heading the Investment Division of the Financial Ombudsman Service, Jane Whittles will have responsibility for bringing together the work of the Personal Investment Authority (PIA) Ombudsman Bureau, the Office of the Investment Ombudsman and the Complaints Bureau of the Securities and Futures Authority. Until the Financial Ombudsman Service officially gains its responsibilities under the Financial Services and Markets Bill, Jane Whittles will also hold the position of Principal PIA Ombudsman.

As part of the management executive at the Financial Ombudsman Service, Jane Whittles will join David Thomas, the Principal Ombudsman in the Banking Division; Tony Boorman, the Principal Ombudsman in the Insurance Division; and Ian Marshall, the Chief Operating Officer. She will report to the Chief Ombudsman, Walter Merricks.

Jane Whittles' appointment follows the announcement earlier this year that Tony Holland will be stepping down from his current post as Principal PIA Ombudsman, following his appointment as Chairman of the Northern Ireland Parades Commission.

notes for editors

  1. The Financial Ombudsman Service is being created as part of the Financial Services and Markets Bill, currently going through Parliament. The new scheme will bring together eight existing complaints-handling schemes to provide, as far as possible, a unified service to resolve disputes between consumers and financial services firms. The eight organisations involved are:
    • The Banking Ombudsman (for complaints about retail banks, including former building societies which are now banks)
    • The Building Societies Ombudsman (for complaints about building societies)
    • The Insurance Ombudsman (for complaints about general insurance - life insurance complaints are dealt with by the PIA Ombudsman)
    • The Investment Ombudsman (for complaints about firms which manage investment funds and which are regulated by the Investment Management Regulatory Organisation - IMRO)
    • The Personal Insurance Arbitration Service (for complaints about general insurance involving companies that are not members of the Insurance Ombudsman)
    • The PIA Ombudsman (for complaints about financial advisers, life insurance companies, friendly societies etc regulated by the Personal Investment Authority)
    • The SFA Complaints Bureau and Arbitration Service (for complaints about stockbrokers and futures traders etc regulated by the Securities and Futures Authority)
    • The FSA Direct Regulation Unit and Independent Investigator (for firms directly regulated by the Financial Services Authority)
  2. Until the Financial Ombudsman Service officially gains its responsibilities under new legislation, the current eight complaints-handling schemes will continue to operate as usual. However, the creation of a unified service is well under way. From mid-May staff from the eight organisations will be working together in the same offices at South Quay in London's Docklands.
  3. The Investment Division of the Financial Ombudsman Service is expecting to receive over 15,000 complaints a year, relating to retail investment products and services including: personal pension plans, FSAVCs and endowment policies; PEPs and investment management services; and share dealing and stock broking matters. The Investment Division will have five ombudsmen and 110 staff, whose responsibilities will involve the investigation, adjudication and resolution of complaints.
  4. Jane Whittles - biography
    Born in Cyprus, Jane Whittles is 46 and graduated in mathematics from Hull University. She joined the Inland Revenue in 1974, working her way up to become the first female tax fraud investigator in London and holding the post of Deputy Director of the Special Compliance Office. In 1998 she joined OFTEL, the Office of Telecommunications, where she is currently Director of Compliance. She is married and lives in Hertfordshire.
  5. The appointment of the Principal Ombudsman (Investment) follows an open competition which included press advertisements. The recruitment was handled for the Financial Ombudsman Service by QD recruitment consultants.

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