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ombudsmen appointments

17 January 2005

Chief Ombudsman, Walter Merricks, today announced the appointment of five ombudsmen as part of the senior management structure of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

The appointments reflect the increasing size and complexity of the organisation's workload. The ombudsmen have been appointed to take lead responsibility for complaints relating to particular sectors.

The ombudsman – and the sectors they cover – are:

Heather Clayton

special projects (mortgage endowments)

Heather is currently director of investigations at Ofcom, where she leads a team responsible for Competition Act investigations and the resolution of disputes between communications providers. Previously she was senior project manager at Oftel, working on the implementation of the Communications Act, and prior to this she was a consultant at KPMG. She will take up her position with the Financial Ombudsman Service in February 2005 and will lead the ombudsman service's work on endowment complaints.

Peter Hinchliffe

general insurance

Peter is currently director of legal and risk management and company secretary at the charity, Cancer Research UK. He is a barrister whose career has included senior legal roles in-house at ICL, GEC and Marconi. He will take up his position with the Financial Ombudsman Service in February 2005. His remit will cover general insurance and protection policies, with an initial focus on issues relating to insurance intermediaries.

Jane Hingston

banking and credit

Jane has been appointed from the existing statutory panel of financial ombudsmen. She will lead the ombudsman service's work on complaints involving banking, building societies, mortgage intermediaries and consumer credit. She has been an ombudsman since 1998 and was previously with the Banking Ombudsman scheme. Prior to this, Jane worked for the Yorkshire and Guardian Building Societies.

Tony King

pensions and securities

Tony has been appointed from the existing statutory panel of financial ombudsmen. In addition to leading the ombudsman service's work on pensions, he will have responsibility for managed portfolios and "splits". He joined the Financial Ombudsman Service as an ombudsman in 2003 from the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman, where he was casework director for nine years. Prior to this, Tony worked in financial consultancy, specialising in pensions management services.

Caroline Mitchell

general investment

Caroline has been appointed from the existing statutory panel of financial ombudsmen. She will lead the ombudsman service's work on life assurance, structured products and other investments. She has been an ombudsman since 2002 and was previously a board member of the Police Complaints Authority. Prior to this, Caroline, a solicitor, worked for ten years at the Insurance Ombudsman Bureau.

These appointments follow the announcement on 7 January 2005 of the appointment of Estelle Clarke as the new quality director.

Walter Merricks said:

As our recently published plan & budget indicates, we shall shortly be an organisation of nearly 1,000 staff, dealing with over 100,000 complaints, two-thirds of which are about one topic – mortgage endowments. Our remit has expanded to cover mortgage and insurance intermediation, and is expected to cover consumer credit within the next 18 months. To manage a body of this size and complexity, we recognised that we needed to strengthen the organisational structure. Despite the challenges we face, I believe that these changes will allow us to continue to provide the quality of service to the industry and consumers that is expected of us.

Walter Merricks has today sent a letter to key external stakeholders with details about these organisational changes at the Financial Ombudsman Service. There is more information about the senior structure of the Financial Ombudsman Service on the organisation chart on the ombudsman website. Pictures are also available on the website photo library.

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