Who Are the Financial Ombudsman?

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Money Savings Advice Who Are the Financial Ombudsman

If you have experienced any form of dispute with a financial services provider, you will likely have come across the Financial Ombudsman Service.

This is an extremely important service that allows consumers to lodge complaints about the level of advice/services received. It is a very powerful organisation and will take an arms-length approach to any disputes.

Back in the 1980s, the UK financial services industry was best described as “self-regulating,” which initially seemed to work fairly well. However, a number of scandals involving insurances, pensions, and investments led to a more structured regulatory approach from the government.

The creation of the Financial Ombudsman Service was an integral part of this new approach and has proved to be extremely successful.

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What Type of Companies Does the Financial Ombudsman Service Cover?

The service covers UK based businesses providing financial services, taking in the likes of -Start Your Repetitive Strain Injury Claim Today.

  • Banks
  • Building societies
  • Financial advisers
  • Investment firms
  • Insurance companies
  • Mortgage companies
  • Finance companies

This list broadly covers the vast majority of financial services in the UK which are involved in giving advice to consumers.

What Type of Financial Products Does the Financial Ombudsman Service Cover?

There are new financial products merging on a regular basis in the UK. The following is a broad list of services covered:-

  • Banking
  • Insurance
  • Mortgages
  • Pensions
  • Savings
  • Investments
  • Credit cards
  • Store cards
  • Loans
  • Credit
  • Hire purchase
  • Financial advice
  • Unit trusts
  • Bonds

In effect, any regulated product sold by a member of the UK financial services industry is covered. In this instance, we are focusing on pensions advice, which can have long-term implications for those provided with incorrect advice/substandard services.

How Do I Complain About Pension Mis-Selling?

If you believe you have been given inappropriate advice regarding your pension investments, you have every right to lodge a complaint. The Financial Ombudsman Service will consider areas such as advice, incorrect information, or more practical problems such as delayed payments.

The service will look to identify if there were problems, how they occurred, how they can be corrected and avoided in the future.

What Happens if My Complaint Is Upheld?

If your complaint is upheld by the Financial Ombudsman Service, then the financial services provider involved will be contacted directly. They would be advised what needs to be done to “correct” earlier mis-advice/mis-selling, which may involve a degree of compensation.

There are occasions where the Financial Ombudsman Service may pass on your complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman.

What Role Does the Pension Ombudsman Play?

The Pension Ombudsman is a free and impartial service set up by the UK government to consider complaints about employee schemes/personal pensions. As indicated above, the Pension Ombudsman works very closely with the Financial Ombudsman Service to provide financial resolutions.

What Are the Most Common Reasons for Complaining to the Ombudsman?

There are numerous reasons why individuals/companies might approach the Pension Ombudsman/Financial Ombudsman Service which include:-

  • Inappropriate advice
  • Substandard level of service
  • Suspected fraudulent activity
  • Failure to deliver on promises
  • Lack of transparency/disclosure

These are all perfectly legitimate reasons to complain to anyone of the ombudsman. Both parties have the backing of the UK government/UK law and work well as a means of effectively policing the pensions industry.

How Long Does It Take to Investigate a Pension Claim?

Once the claim has been taken on by the appropriate ombudsman, the first stage is evidence gathering. All parties will be given the opportunity to put forward their version of events and present any evidence they may have. After considering the information provided, the ombudsman will then make a ruling and inform all parties.

This all sounds very simple, but when it comes to financial services, it can take some time to gather the evidence, go through in detail, and issue a ruling.

The matter of calculating compensation can also take some time as there may be numerous factors to consider. Such is the power of both the Financial Ombudsman Service/Pension Ombudsman that members of the UK financial services industry are “obliged” to abide by their rulings.

Should I Employ the Services of a Claims Management Company?

In theory, those looking to complain about pension mis-selling have a very straightforward and simple path they can take. The Financial Ombudsman Service/Pension Ombudsman will consider all complaints and take the necessary action.

The problem is, gathering and presenting evidence in the best light. This is where claims management companies come into their own - many have been there, done it, and prosecuted numerous negligent financial parties.

Money Savings Advice Tip

Sadly where there is money involved there are unsavoury people who look to take advantage. If you feel you have been the victim of pension fraud and have lost money from your pension then we advise you to speak to a professional who can manage your claim properly.

How Much Would a Claims Management Company Charge?

When you have gathered sufficient evidence to support your claim of negligence, this should be presented to a claims management company. They will review your evidence and calculate your chances of a successful prosecution.

Where they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, there would likely agree to take on your case on a “no win, no fee” arrangement. This effectively indemnifies you from the claims management company’s costs associated with pursuing your case. In exchange, they would look to negotiate a success fee.

What Is a Success Fee?

A success fee is a share of any compensation awarded, traditionally around 25%. This is the company’s payment for taking the risk associated with any legal case. Even the strongest financial mis-selling claims can fall by the wayside for various reasons.

Research also shows that claims management companies are often able to negotiate much better terms than individuals who pursue claims in their own right. In effect, you could argue that the skill and experience of a claims management company effectively pay for itself.

Is There a Time Limit in Which to Make a pension-related Complaint?

There are two schedules to consider with regards to pension-related complaints. On the one hand, financial complaints should be lodged within six years of being mis-sold/mis-advice. Alternatively, there is a three-year window of opportunity from the time an individual is made aware of the mis-selling/mis-advice.

While some industries have a 15-year bar on complaints, this is not always the case with regards to the ombudsman. We know that many mistakes in relation to pension advice only materialize when approaching retirement.

So, while the vast majority of cases will be picked up within the three year/6 year timescale, it is still worth pursuing a complaint even if this was to emerge further down the line.


The UK has a very robust financial services complaint procedure, taking in numerous organisations. All complaints are considered on an arms-length basis with no bias towards any party. This evidence-based review of pension fund claims ensures that consumers are given a fair hearing.

Such is the power of the likes of the Financial Ombudsman Service/Pension Ombudsman that any rulings are respected by all UK financial sector participants.

The evidence required to pursue a complaint can be challenging and complex. This is where the services of an experienced claims management company can prove vital.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Mis-Sold Pension Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Financial Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for a mis-sold pension and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Money Savings Advice Author Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Mark has been writing professionally for over ten years for the financial sector. Having started in the financial world as a stock-broker in central London and then moving to equities trader Mark is one of our senior financial writers who has a vast knowledge of multiple financial sectors.

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