On 17 March 2023, the FCA launched a call for input to inform its review of whether the thresholds for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to be able to refer complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) remain appropriate. The FCA’s policy objective is to provide access to the FOS to SMEs it thinks are likely to have insufficient resources to resolve disputes with financial services firms through the legal system.
Since 1 April 2019, the FCA’s rules have meant that the FOS has been able to consider complaints made by micro-enterprises and small businesses. A small business is defined as an enterprise which is not a micro-enterprise, has an annual turnover of less than £6.5 million (or its equivalent in any other currency) and employs fewer than 50 persons or has a balance sheet total of less than £5 million (or its equivalent in any other currency).
Respondents to the call for input are asked to use a survey link in which to provide their response. The deadline for responses is 28 April 2023. Once the call for input closes, the FCA will analyse the feedback and publish its response, which will include whether or not it proposes to carry out any further work.