Today marks 20 years since the Financial Ombudsman Service officially became the single ombudsman scheme for consumer complaints about financial products and services.

The Financial Ombudsman Service plays a vital role in the UK’s financial system. Since we were established in 2001, we’ve helped individual consumers and smaller businesses to resolve over 4 million complaints about financial businesses.

Brought together by the merger of eight separate schemes, the single Financial Ombudsman Service was to be a one-stop service for consumer complaints, providing a unified system of complaint-handling, to help reduce possible confusion or duplication and with the ability to view and respond to trends across the industry sectors.

A unique perspective

Our role and experience gives us a unique perspective on the causes of complaints, how they arise, and their impact on lives and livelihoods.

Over the years, we’ve seen complaints about wide-ranging and topical issues. From complaints about fraud and scams, to payday lending and pensions. Most recently we’ve used our experience to help with a range of pandemic‑related issues, from business interruption insurance claims, cancelled weddings and holidays, emergency business loans, through to financial hardship and affordability issues arising from the wider economic repercussions.

Our work has also included issues where mass complaints have been made about single issues – mortgage endowments, current account charges, high-cost and short-term lending  – and although our work on payment protection insurance (PPI) is now starting to conclude, it shaped our service for more than a decade.

One of the regular – and enduring – ways we share our unique perspective is through our newsletter, Ombudsman News. Ombudsman News also turned 20 this year, with its first edition published in 2001. Although the format has changed over time, we continue to use it to share the latest news and insight from the Financial Ombudsman.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead, we remain committed to sharing our insight and experience to prevent complaints and unfairness arising. And, as we mark 20 years of the Financial Ombudsman Service helping financial businesses and their customers resolve complaints, our work will focus on creating a modern and agile service that is fit for the future – one that is able to adapt to changing demand and new and emerging issues.

Latest news

Ombudsman News 168

28 January 2022

Welcome to the latest edition of Ombudsman News. In this edition we highlight that there is still time to respond to our plans and budget consultation for 2022/23, some of the topics covered in our recently published blogs, and our online guidance about insurance pricing and renewal.

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Financial regulatory family strengthen Wider Implications Framework

25 January 2022

Regulatory family announce formal agreement for collaboration on matters of common interest.

Press release

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Financial Ombudsman: Insurance checks needed for e-scooters

13 January 2022

The Financial Ombudsman Service is urging e-scooter owners to check their insurance policies to ensure they are covered if things go wrong.

Press release

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