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change the name "ombudsman"!

A recent report suggested that people might not find "ombudsman" a welcoming word. We invited people to tell us what they thought about our name.

Here are some of the comments that people have emailed in to us - supporting the idea that we should drop the name "ombudsman".

  • We're British, not Swedish. A simpler word would help those who just don't know what an "ombudsman" is - and that's probably 50% of the population.
  • "Financial Consumer Complaints" or something working around that would do the trick. Possibly something even simpler - "Money Complaints"?
  • I personally consider that it would be a good idea to change the name "ombudsman", making it easier for people who don't understand what it means. 
  • I think your name should be more matter of fact and explanatory - for example "Independent Financial Complaints Service".

I hadn't a clue what the name meant till I heard a programme on Radio 4 last week.

  • I count myself as pretty clued-up - but I had never heard of this word "ombudsman" before reading the BBC story. The name needs to be more self-explanatory.
  • How about changing your name to "The Equaliser"? Or may be "Captain Cash" - who Sun readers write to with their financial concerns.
  • I think you should change it - the word's rather dated. Many consumers can't pronounce it - or spell it!

"Ombudsman" is an unintelligible, lugubrious, pretentious, imported name, which should have been stifled at birth!

  • "Referee" is simple, generally understood and widely respected. Please adopt "Referee" as soon as possible.
  • I think the name needs to be changed, as most people don't know what "ombudsman" means, and it can be a bit of a mouthful to say as well.
  • I doubt that many people understand the word "ombudsman", other than understanding by its context. "Mediator" or possibly "arbitrator" gives a better sense of the actual work that the ombudsman does. 
  • "Financial Mediation Service" (FMS) would be a better name for the Financial Ombudsman Service.
  • My vote would be to change to something that is more understandable and descriptive!
  • Change the name "ombudsman" - not everybody understands Swedish!

and finally - a native Danish-speaker emailed us to put us right on the derivation of the original word "ombudsman" ...

I have read your description of what the word "ombudsman" means in Swedish - a "representative of the people" - and I'm sorry to say you're wrong! What you're referring to is the institution of the ombudsman as an arbiter for the Parliament - instituted in Sweden in 1809.

But the original word "ombudsman" is much older. It was used in Scandinavia in medieval times to describe the messenger who relayed the king's message to his local chiefs. In Danish (my native language) the word "bud" means "message", "om" means "around", and "mand" means "person".

see the comments people emailed us in favour of keeping our name

media enquiries

  • David Cresswell – phone 020 7964 0134
  • Emma Parker – phone 020 7964 0966
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