FOS prepares to name firms when publishing final decisions

The Financial Ombudsman Service is gearing up to publish the names of firms involved in complaints when it begins the process of publishing final ombudsman decisions next month.

FOS chief executive Natalie Ceeney
FOS chief executive Natalie Ceeney

The Government first set out plans to require the FOS to publish final decisions as part of the draft Financial Services Bill, now the Financial Services Act 2012.

The draft legislation did not address whether the identities of the firms being complained about should be published.

In a consultation on the plans in September 2011, the FOS said its view was it should not delete the name of the firm involved, but would not publish any information that would identify the consumer making the complaint. A feedback statement was published by the FOS in January 2012.

The FOS now says it will begin the process of making final decisions public next month. Decisions naming the firm but not the consumer will be available on a searchable database on the FOS’ website, and will start appearing on the website in early summer.

The FOS says: “As part of the practical arrangements involved in publishing decisions, there will be a short delay between an ombudsman sending out their decision to the two parties in each case, and that decision being made available on our website. This is because we need to allow a short period for the two parties to respond, once they have received a decision.

“As we will not be publishing ombudsman decisions retrospectively, we also want to make sure when the new database first goes live, it will hold enough decisions to show the full range of work we do.”