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ombudsman news

issue 22

November 2002

ask ombudsman news - your questions answered

is fund-switch fair compensation for endowment mis-selling-

When my client complained that she had been mis-sold a mortgage endowment policy, the firm said the policy had been appropriate for her circumstances at the time. But it said the policy should have been invested in different funds. It offered to switch her, free of charge, into its with-profits fund and to credit her with the amount she lost through being in the "wrong" fund. My client is unhappy about this. It still leaves her with a policy that she thinks is unsuitable. And the policy is still likely to produce less than she needs when it matures.

Firms need to follow the regulator's guidance when dealing with mortgage endowment complaints. And they should refer to our own Mortgage Endowment Complaints Assessment Guide, which shows suitable means of redress.

If the policy was suitable for your client's circumstances, but the choice of fund was inconsistent with her attitude to risk, then the firm's offer may be appropriate. But our experience to date suggests that the circumstances in which such an offer is appropriate are extremely rare. To be sure the original advice was entirely suitable, we would need to be satisfied that - even if she had been fully aware of all the facts - your client would still have taken out an endowment policy invested in the fund that the firm now suggests. If your client remains dissatisfied, she should refer her complaint to us.

ordering supplies of the ombudsman's consumer leaflet

How can my firm get copies of the leaflet that the FSA rules say we must send, at the appropriate stage, to any customers who complain to us-

If you need supplies of our consumer leaflet, you can order them from us online.

For more details about our publications please phone 020 7964 0092 or visit the " publications" and the " frequently-asked-questions" (FAQs) pages on this website.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.