“Scrutiny and transparency always improves decision-making. The right to appeal to a separate and fresh set of eyes is the cornerstone of judicial and quasi-judicial systems.” says APFA, according to an article in FT Adviser
APFA is the Association of Professional Financial Advisers. They believe there needs to be a change at FOS with the separation of the appeals process to an independent body.
APFA have called for changes in this area for some time. The current arrangement has no appeal against an Ombudsman’s decision (“the ombudsman’s decision is final !”) and a (so called) appeal against an adjudicator’s decision is just referred to an ombudsman who might be in the same working group or team.
An idea of what an “appeal ” to an ombudsman means in practice can be gauged from this statement from the FOS 2014-15 annual review.
“Because of the way ombudsmen share knowledge with adjudicators – and because our approach is well-established in most areas – it’s unusual for an ombudsman to reach different conclusions to the adjudicator who initially looked at a complaint. In 92% of final decisions this year, the ombudsman didn’t recommend anything different to the adjudicator.”