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ombudsman news

issue 5

May 2001

investment liaison forum

The Financial Ombudsman Service is keen to establish and maintain a close and constructive working relationship with the financial services industry. We already have a well-established Funding Group. This provides a forum in which we can set out our budget and funding plans for scrutiny and discussion by members representing a cross-section of the industry. In addition, taking a "prevention rather than cure" approach, we want - through dialogue and consultation with industry members - to share and promote best practice in resolving disputes. We hope that, over time, this will result in a reduction in complaints.

Following the successful format of our Banking Liaison Forum and Insurance Liaison Forum, we have now set up an Investment Liaison Forum.

The Investment Liaison Forum held its inaugural meeting on 8 March 2001, followed by a second meeting on 23 May. The next meeting is due to take place in September 2001 and we expect subsequent meetings every two to three months. The members of this forum, around 15 in number, come from a cross-section of the UK investment industry, including officials from AUTIF (Association of Unit Trusts and Investment Funds), APCIMS (Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers), ABI (Association of British Insurers), AIFA (Association of Independent Financial Advisers) and ASIM (Association of Solicitor Investment Managers), as well as those directly affected by the new complaints- handling and ombudsman arrangements.

The forum is a vehicle for discussion and liaison; it has no formal decision-making role. Individual members of the group take part in a personal capacity and do not formally "represent" any particular firm, constituency or interest group. However, the aim is that - collectively - the group can draw on the views and experience of as wide a cross-section of the industry as possible.

The agenda for the forum's meetings will consist largely of questions and concerns relating to complaints-handling and ombudsman matters, including technical issues arising from individual complaints which have wider industry implications; or general issues relating to, for example, policy and resources. Shared experience and open discussion about the resolving of complaints will be especially helpful in ensuring consistency of decision-making within the new ombudsman service. The minutes of the Investment Liaison Forum meetings will shortly be available on the website.

Hard copies of the minutes can be obtained on 0207 964 0092,

Firms can suggest any particular issues for inclusion on the agenda by, in the first instance, contacting one of the following trade association participants.

For general information about the Investment Liaison Forum, firms can contact
Caroline Wells, our liaison manager, on
phone 020 7964 0648,
direct fax 020 7964 0649 or
email caroline.wells@financial-ombudsman.org.uk
Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

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