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Treasury Minister visits Financial Ombudsman Service

26 April 2002

The Financial Ombudsman Service was pleased to welcome the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Ruth Kelly, to its offices yesterday.

Welcoming Ruth Kelly, Chairman of the Financial Ombudsman Service, Andreas Whittam Smith, said:

We are delighted to welcome the Minister to the Financial Ombudsman Service. The Minister's visit comes in the first few months since the ombudsman service acquired its full powers. Her visit marks the establishment of a single port of call for consumers with financial services disputes - ranging from pet insurance to pension plans, debit cards to stocks and shares.

The Minister met and spoke with staff and experienced at first hand the diverse range of concerns and complaints that consumers bring to the ombudsman service when she listened to calls coming in to the customer contact division. Commenting on her visit, Ruth Kelly said:

I am pleased to see at first hand the work of this important service. The Financial Ombudsman plays a significant role in the statutory consumer protection network afforded to consumers of financial services. Its existence means that consumers can be more confident in their purchases of financial services and firms can benefit from this confidence.

notes for editors

  1. The Financial Ombudsman Service was set up by law under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and assumed its full powers on 1 December 2001.
  2. The 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.
  3. The Financial Ombudsman Service employs 450 staff, handles around 300,000 phone enquiries and 100,000 written enquiries annually, and issues over 40,000 final decisions each year.

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image Ruth Kelly

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