The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is determined to shed its reputation as an anti-adviser body, its chief executive has said.
Caroline Wayman said the service is keen to reach out to advisers to allay their apparently widespread concerns it is unfair on them when determining wrongdoing following client complaints.
Speaking to the Treasury Committee on 15 October, Wayman said she is aware of advisers' concerns about FOS adjudications and is keen to show them it is "prepared to listen".
She said she wants advisers to know that "we are human and listen, and we are prepared to have these conversations".
"I know there are concerns. I will just try to be as open as I can and try where we can to allay those fears and try to make [advisers] understand what it is really like when we judge those cases.
Wayman's remarks followed a question from Committee member and Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier, who cited a poll of advisers suggesting more than half (58%) considered the FOS unfair on IFAs when reaching decisions. A further quarter said they were unsure, according to the Panacea survey.
Wayman said: "I understand it can be a worrying time for small firms who have been complained about.
"The cost of regulation and cost of bringing cases to us, that's why we now have 25 free cases. That takes a significant proportion of smaller businesses out of [having to pay]," she said.
Wayman added the FOS had refreshed its roadshow format to make it more interactive and inviting for advisers.
But, she said: "The frustration in a way is the people I need to speak to can’t come to those events. But the events have been well received generally."
The Committee grilled Wayman as part of an ongoing inquiry into the treatment of financial services consumers, announced on 1 September.
It has already questioned Citizens Advice Burea chief Gillian Guy, who spoke about the government's promised retirement 'guidance' for all from April next year, following the Budget changes.
FOS named Caroline Wayman as its chief ombudsman and CEO, succeeding Natalie Ceeney, in July.
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