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ombudsman news

issue 2

February 2001

about this issue

by Jane Whittles principal ombudsman investment division

Every three months, ombudsman news will focus on the work of the investment division. The publication builds on, and replaces, the quarterly bulletins previously published by the Personal Investment Authority Ombudsman Bureau and covers the work of all three schemes in the investment division. These schemes are:

  • the Personal Investment Authority (PIA) Ombudsman Bureau;
  • the Office of the Investment Ombudsman, (which deals with complaints about firms regulated by IMRO - the Investment Management Regulatory Organisation); and
  • the SFA Complaints Bureau (which covers complaints about firms regulated by the SFA - Securities and Futures Authority).

Over the past year, these three schemes have received 17,000 new cases and handled well over 60,000 telephone enquiries. There has been a steady increase in our workload, resulting in an average of 2,500 new complaints now reaching us each month. We have been recruiting a number of additional adjudicators to help ensure we can deal with this increase.

In this issue we concentrate mainly on mortgage endowments, which now account for approximately 50% of the complaints reaching this division. We provide case studies showing some of the more typical mortgage endowment complaints that we receive. We also provide a few case studies illustrating the wide variety of complaints we deal with on other topics. The case studies are not intended as any form of definitive guidance, but we hope they will be useful in showing our general approach.

In addition, we:

  • highlight a forthcoming test case concerning the pension review and windfalls
  • include news of some important changes to the PIA Ombudsman Bureau's terms of reference, particularly concerning the pensions review;
  • clarify the position concerning time limits for cases referred to the PIA Ombudsman Bureau; and
  • outline our preliminary thoughts on the impact on our work of the Human Rights Act.

Together with the investment division ombudsmen, Ron Bennett, Richard Prior, Philip Roberts and Chris Tilson and all the staff of the division, I hope you will find ombudsman news interesting and informative. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.