The Independent Assessor

I am the Independent Assessor for the Financial Ombudsman Service and my name is Dame Gillian Guy. 

I look into complaints about the service you've had from the Financial Ombudsman Service.

I am impartial. This means that I am independent of the service and form my own view without influence.

Terms of reference

What I can do

I can look at complaints for:

  • customers of the Financial Ombudsman Service
  • representatives of customers of the Financial Ombudsman Service
  • respondent businesses

I can look at complaints about the customer service you’ve been given.  For example, concerns about:

  • communication
  • timeliness or delays
  • whether the service you received was fair and impartial
  • other problems with the service you have received

Following my investigation, I issue a Review and make recommendations if appropriate. 

What I cannot do

As the Independent Assessor I cannot:

  • look at a case until it is closed
  • look at the merits of the case, or review the outcome reached
  • look at a case until the Financial Ombudsman Service has had the opportunity to consider your complaint about the level of service provided through its own internal process 
  • look at how the Financial Ombudsman Service handled your personal information, for example, how they have responded to a Freedom of Information or Subject Access Request. For these complaints, please contact our Information Rights Team at: [email protected].

Read the terms of reference in full.

How to complain

Send your complaint electronically or by letter.

I can only review complaints once a case has closed. This is so I can review the case journey in full. In exceptional circumstances, I can tell the Financial Ombudsman Service to put its investigation on hold while I look into the service complaint, but this is very rare.

A case closes when: 

  • a final decision has been issued 
  • you accept the findings of the case handler 
  • you accept an offer made by the business, or 
  • you withdraw your complaint 

I cannot help unless you have made a formal complaint about the service provided. The Financial Ombudsman Service must have had a reasonable opportunity, through their own internal processes, to respond to the issues you have raised.

You must complain to me within one month of the Financial Ombudsman Service closing the case. If the one-month deadline you are given in your complaint response is later than this date, then our office will accept this as the effective deadline.

The Financial Ombudsman Service will provide my contact details at the end of their own service complaint process in case you do not think they have addressed your issues satisfactorily, they are also provided on this page.

How to contact me

Email: [email protected]

PO Box 35738
E14 9YU

When making your complaint to me please:

  • include your case reference number
  • outline the concerns you would like to have reviewed

You do not need to send evidence or additional information. When I review a complaint, I review the full case file.

What happens next

My investigation

It can take up to 6 weeks for me to investigate your complaint. I will then provide both you and the Financial Ombudsman Service with my Review.

My review and recommendation

If I think that the level of service provided by the Financial Ombudsman Service was satisfactory, I will tell you why. If I think it wasn’t satisfactory, I’ll explain why and make any appropriate recommendations to the service.

There is no appeal against my Review and recommendations.

When my recommendation is accepted

If I decide that the Financial Ombudsman Service hasn’t met its service standards, I can make a recommendation to the Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman. This might be that the service should apologise - or should pay compensation for any damage, distress or inconvenience caused by the poor service.

If the Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman accepts a recommendation from me, the Financial Ombudsman Service will write to you and will notify me.

When my recommendation is not accepted

If the Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman doesn’t accept a recommendation, the Financial Ombudsman Service will notify me. I will then refer the matter to the board of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

If the board decides not to accept a recommendation, they will give their reasons to me and to you as the person or business making the service complaint.

The reasons will be published in the Financial Ombudsman's Annual Report and Accounts.

I report each year on the complaints I have received, and recommendations made, and the Financial Ombudsman Service issues a formal management response. Both are published on the Financial Ombudsman’s website.

Data protection

Whilst independent, for the purpose of the Information Commissioner’s Office and regulatory body, my office is considered part of the Financial Ombudsman Service. Find out how your data is used.