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

An update on car finance commission complaints

9 May 2024

We have written to our customers with an update about our car finance commission cases. It's important to us that consumers understand our plans for progressing complaints and that financial businesses and professional representatives are clear on our expectations.

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Financial complaints have risen by 20% according to latest half-yearly data

1 May 2024

Our newly published data shows the number of financial complaints received in the second half of 2023 rose by a fifth.

Press release Data and Insight H2 data

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Ombudsman News 190

8 April 2024

Welcome to the latest edition of Ombudsman News. In this edition, we highlight our Plans and Budget for 2024/25 and changes to our award limits. We also share details of roles we’re currently recruiting for.

Recruitment Strategic plans and budget

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