The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) says it is “deeply concerned” over the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) approach to the changes to the Financial Ombudsman Scheme (FOS).
Last week the FCA confirmed it will extend access to FOS to include larger SMEs.
The FCA announced that respondents had “strongly supported” this extension of FOS. There were 65 responses, 13 of which raised fundamental objections to extend the eligibility.
AMI says there has been a failure to recognise that most of these were raised by trade associations who respond on behalf of their members and represent their respective sectors. It considers that the voices of and the fees paid by mortgage and protection advisers; investment and financial advisers; asset, consumer and motor finance providers; general insurance brokers; life assurance and wealth management firms; wholesale insurers and reinsurers; electronic money issuers; and debt collection companies are not insignificant.
AMI also believe that the claim to have received agreement from the ‘significant majority’ is misleading, particularly as a fifth of those who agreed were from individuals or SMEs themselves.
Robert Sinclair (pictured), chief executive of AMI, said: “By diminishing the pushback to this extension it is apparent that the FCA had already decided it was going ahead with its proposals and has tried to find the justification. To take the number of responses into account rather than who they represent is a skewed approach to analysing feedback.
“The minutes from the FCA’s Board meeting in July, published nearly a week before the policy statement, show that this was not even a consideration in their decision. It has never been intended that those acting for business or professional reasons are afforded the same protections as consumers.
“However, we are moving to a world where the regulator considers every area of ‘harm’ as their responsibility and that it is easier to simply widen its scope rather than address the issue directly.
“Accessing dispute resolution on a fair and reasonable basis rather than a proper legal dispute procedure through the courts is just inappropriate.”