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ombudsman news

issue 8

August 2001

preparing for the future - changes for SFA firms

For SFA-regulated firms, the move from a conciliation and arbitration service to an ombudsman scheme will require some procedural changes. We hope that SFA-regulated firms are starting to review their arrangements for handling complaints in anticipation of the new rules.

One of the most significant changes concerns the arbitration service. The transitional provisions in this area allow for arbitration cases that are in progress at 30 November 2001 to continue through to determination with arbitration. However, responsibility for that process will transfer from SFA to the Financial Ombudsman Service on 1 December 2001.

Disputes that are in conciliation at 30 November 2001, and that would have been eligible to have gone to arbitration if conciliation had failed, will be determined on a similar basis as arbitration, but by an ombudsman in the Financial Ombudsman Service.

This means that from 1 June this year, where we have been unable to satisfactorily resolve a dispute, investors have until 30 November 2001 to refer their case to arbitration, and not six months as previously.

Our new procedures are designed to be flexible and we will want to maintain an active dialogue with both the firm and the customer in our handling of cases.

At all stages of the process we will be able to provide firms with information and to advise on the next steps. Please contact:

Andrea Johnson, casework manager 020 7964 0288 or

Dominic Fielding, assistant case work manager 020 7964 0188

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news issue 8 [PDF format]

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.