Financial Ombudsman Service freezes budget

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The Financial Ombudsman Service is planning to keep its budget flat in 2016/17.

It is forecasting 12,200 new complaints relating to mortgages in 2015/16 – down from 12,297 in 2014/15 – and is budgeting for 13,000 mortgage complaints in 2016/17.

The FOS has also played down the impact of the new pension freedoms.

It says the reforms, which came into effect in April this year, have “so far resulted in a relatively small number of enquiries and complaints reaching us”.

It adds these mainly relate to delays caused by pension providers or consumers facing difficulties accessing financial advice.

It is forecasting 15,100 new complaints relating to investments and pensions in 2015/16 and budgeting for 15,000 in 2016/17.

Complaints about payment protection insurance will still account for the majority of new enquiries at 170,000 in 2016/17, the FOS predicts.

Its expected budget for 2016/17 will be £223.2m, slightly lower than the £223.9m budgeted for 2015/16.

However, it will ask the FCA to raise the compulsory level it charges authorised firms from £23.3m to £24.5m in 2016/17.

The FOS also proposes freezing the standard case fee at £550 for 2016/27, the fourth year in a row it has been at this level. Each business outside the group-fee arrangement has 25 free cases a year.