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information for businesses covered by the ombudsman service

This section answers a number of frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about:

keeping in touch

talking to businesses

other than handling individual disputes, does the ombudsman talk to businesses and trade associations to find out what we think?

Every year we take part in over a hundred events where we meet the businesses we cover. These events range from roadshows and seminars to conferences and exhibitions - and take place the length and breadth of the UK.

This involves our meeting thousands of financial services practitioners face-to-face - to listen to your views and answer your questions. Upcoming events where you can come and meet us are listed on the "events" pages of this website.

We dedicate a significant amount of resource to keeping in touch with all sectors of the financial services industry - including smaller businesses. We recognise that many of the businesses we cover only ever have a few, if any, complaints referred to us - so would otherwise have no direct contact with the ombudsman service.

If you get together with other businesses from your area or take part in local trade-association meetings - and would like us to come along - we will see if we can help you. For more details please see outreach – what we can do for you.

You can also contact our technical advice desk for information about a wide range of issues. Don't wait until a consumer has made an official complaint, before you get in touch with us. By contacting our technical advice desk to talk through what looks like becoming a tricky situation, you may be able to sort out the problem informally at an early stage - saving time, money and effort all round.

engagement with the financial services industry

As well as our contact with businesses and their trade associations at an operational level, we also have more formal arrangements in place for strategic dialogue with the financial services industry.

These liaison arrangements take the form of a high-level industry steering-group and a wider cross-sector industry liaison panel.

industry steering-group

Our chairman, Sir Nicholas Montagu, chairs the high-level steering group meetings for banking and insurance, which are held every six months. We also hold a six-monthly steering group meeting for financial services trade bodies, which is chaired by our chief ombudsman and chief executive, Caroline Wayman.

Members from this group meet to discuss strategic issues such as major trends in complaints and the mechanisms for handling "mass claims" from consumers.

Notes and minutes relating to these meetings are available below:

industry liaison panel

Our industry liaison panel is made up of around 600 financial services practitioners and representatives from 40 trade bodies - covering all sectors of financial services.

The panel covers issues such as complaints involving a particular product, sector, or type of financial business - or particular complaints-handling process issues.

The industry panel keeps in touch with ombudsman-related issues through a fortnightly email newsletter and a series of events including meet the ombudsman "Q&A" sessions.