Star letter: FOS ‘tickbox’ complaint is hypocrisy in action
I read with considerable interest the recent comments from the Financial Ombudsman Service criticising some lenders for a “tickbox” attitude to underwriting. While I agree with many of its comments, I fear it is not batting from a position of strength here.
If you are an established business, you will rightly regard complaint handling as part of your operating cost. This, of course, is true in any industry and, where mistakes are made, client satisfaction and recompense must be the only aim.
What very few industries have to encounter, however, are the vastly varied results from their ombudsman.
At times, it appears as if the result of findings from the FOS can differ greatly, depending on who views the complaint and, more worryingly, on the assigned officer’s understanding of financial products and processes, which all too often appears to be inadequate to successfully conclude their findings.
More disturbing still, however, is the tickbox attitude from the FOS, which often means complaints are accepted when a basic ‘sense check’ would stop them on submission.
Even complaints that clearly have no chance of being upheld cost money to respond to and, ultimately, it is the clients that lose out. When operating costs go up, so does the cost of providing the service.
All too often complaints are accepted by the FOS that would never make it past the post if a little training and some common sense were applied.
More than ever, the financial services industry needs an ombudsman service that is respected and trusted while maintaining easy access to consumers. The FOS should be able to protect consumers while also preventing abuse and a claims culture.
Dominik Lipnicki, Your Mortgage Decisions
Why does FSCS make us pay for the sins of others?
I could not agree more with Patrick Bunton’s comments about the need for reform of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
As a directly authorised sole trader, I am appalled to see my fees hiked from approximately £1,300 to £2,300 to pay for what has happened in the life and pensions sector.
Surely the FCA needs to redress this? I guess we will be paying for banks’ PPI claims next.
FSCS levy is unfair on mortgage and protection brokers
With reference to the calls for FSCS reform, it is hard enough to make things work as mortgage and protection in an era where you need to work three times as hard to earn the same living.
It is clear that the pension and investment market is where the major money is earned but we mere mortgage and protection firms are left bearing a massive brunt of the levy against an income that is already dwarfed by the pensions advisory firms in the first place.
Brokers’ service is far superior to lenders’ offering
Last month, Bob Young warned in Mortgage Strategy that client ownership would likely be an issue well into the future, with lenders looking to ramp up their D2C offerings.
I think it is vital that we keep in regular contact with our clients, not only to ensure we look after them properly but also to prevent this situation where lenders are marketing to introduced clients.
Last week I spoke to a prospective client who I am about to meet for the first time. He had made a buy-to-let enquiry with me and mentioned during our 10-minute initial chat that he had almost completed a buy-to-let remortgage. He did this directly with a lender and suggested to me that the experience was not a particularly good one.
Having talked him through my services and fee and explained how we deal with all the advice and paperwork, I think I assured him that the experience with me would be much more pleasant that the one he had just had with the lender.
The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, of course, but I firmly believe that the service offered by lenders is nowhere near as good as the service that a decent broker can deliver.
Granted, Young suggested that lenders are “fighting dirty” over clients – but I say bring it on and let the best man win.