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ombudsman news

issue 27

April 2003

new powers for the ombudsman service

1 April 2003 saw the voluntary jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service opened up to mortgage brokers, insurance brokers and others.

background

Since we gained our own powers on 1 December 2001, we have had:

  • a compulsory jurisdiction, which some firms must join; and
  • a voluntary jurisdiction, which some firms can choose to join.

The compulsory jurisdiction covers:

  • firms that were covered by one of the predecessor ombudsman schemes, for complaints about events before 1 December 2001; and
  • firms that are regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), for complaints about events from 1 December 2001.

As now extended, the voluntary jurisdiction is open to:

  • firms that were covered by one of the predecessor ombudsman schemes but are not regulated by the FSA, for complaints about events from 1 December 2001;
  • firms that are now regulated by the FSA but were not covered by one of the predecessor ombudsman schemes, for complaints about events before 1 December 2001;
  • insurance and banking firms directing services at the UK from the European Economic Area, whenever the events occurred;
  • mortgage lenders that are not regulated by the FSA, mortgage brokers and insurance brokers, whenever the events occurred.

The voluntary jurisdiction has been open since 1 December 2001 to mortgage lenders that are not regulated by the FSA. As the FSA is to regulate mortgage brokers from October 2004, and insurance brokers from January 2005, we opened the voluntary jurisdiction to them from 1 April 2003.

what has changed-

The extension of our voluntary jurisdiction means firms that carry out mortgage and/or general insurance broking activities can now apply to join the voluntary jurisdiction, to have unresolved complaints about those activities dealt with at the Financial Ombudsman Service.

And all FSA-regulated firms that were not covered by one of the predecessor ombudsman schemes can also join the voluntary jurisdiction to cover complaints about events:

  • before 1 December 2001; or
  • before the activity became regulated, if later.

Firms thinking about signing up to our voluntary jurisdiction will need to consider the rules and requirements that apply - and find out more generally about how the ombudsman service works. You might also want to contact our technical advice desk for further information.

sue slipman, chair of Financial Ombudsman Service

Sue Slipman, newly-appointed chair of the Financial Ombudsman Service, shares her first impressions of the ombudsman service.

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.