On 28 June 2023, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) published a speech by Abby Thomas, Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman, delivered at the Consumer Duty Implementation Summit. The speech focussed on what the Consumer Duty (CD) means for resolving financial complaints.

In her speech, Ms Thomas made the following points:

  • The FOS does not expect that the CD will significantly change the way the FOS looks at complaints. In addition, the FOS does not expect the CD to have a significant impact on the volume of complaints.
  • The FOS is well-placed to navigate the new requirements and to help financial businesses navigate them too.
  • The FOS has spent a lot of time talking to the FCA about its expectations, both as it was formulating its proposals and during the current implementation period. The FOS have also been regularly attending industry events alongside the FCA.
  • Following the introduction of the CD, the FOS will continue to set out and share their approach, and will continue to work with the FCA to ensure consistency. The FOS will also share insight with financial businesses.
  • In order to share insight more generally, in relation to the CD and beyond, the FOS is changing its organisation to be better aligned with the industry. This will be done by creating sector specific ‘directorates’ that cover particular areas, such as investments, insurance or banking.
  • Following the implementation of the CD, the FOS may see more complaints about the use of products and services. Consumers may tell the FOS that firms should have done more to check that they were using them as intended.
  • The FOS also expects to see complaints about the price and value of products in the future, which is something the FOS already sees.
  • While there may be new types of complaints, and it’s reasonable to expect some additional complaints in the coming months during the initial embedding process, the FOS expects complaints to fall as outcomes and consumer experiences improve.