The Financial Ombudsman Service (the FOS) has recently launched a public consultation paper on the proposed amendments to the rules as set out in the Financial Conduct Authority’s Dispute Resolution: Complaints Sourcebook (DISP) in relation to its consumer redress scheme and the complaint handling procedures relating to the jurisdiction of the FOS.

The intention behind these particular amendments is part of a wider effort by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to improve the way in which complaints are handled, to improve access to the FOS and crucially to ensure consistency across the rules.

Section 404B of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) has been amended by the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015 which came into force earlier this month. The result is that businesses and consumers may now agree that complaints subject to a consumer redress scheme can be dealt with by the ombudsman by reference to what is fair and reasonable. In circumstances where the parties do not agree, complaints will constitute a “relevant complaint” and will be dealt with in accordance with the relevant consumer redress scheme. It has therefore been suggested that DISP 3 should be amended to reflect these changes and to refer to “relevant complaints” in place of “consumer redress schemes”.

The FOS is also proposing an amendment to DISP 3.2.2R as a result of a recent rule change by the FCA to DISP 2.8.1R which is due to take effect on 30 June 2016. The FCA’s rule change means that where a complainant has received a summary resolution communication from the respondent the FOS may still be able to consider the complaint.