The Financial Ombudsman Service (the FOS) has recently published a report (dated January 2016) on the impact of PPI mis-selling on the FOS. The report sets out how the FOS has responded to the vast number of PPI complaints which it has received, identifies the pressures it still faces and explores how those pressures might be reduced.
The eye-catching figures in the report are that over £16.5 million claims for compensation have been brought by consumers, of which £1.3 million have converted into complaints to the FOS. Over £21 billion of compensation has been paid to consumers, with a further £6 billion set aside for future payments. Some estimates suggest that the total amount paid could exceed £30 billion.
The overall assessment of the FOS’s handling of individual complaints is positive. The report concludes that the FOS “made the right strategic decisions, that these were duly implemented and that the approach has been largely vindicated.” It notes that, while there were unwelcome delays in making decisions, steps have been taken to mitigate the impact of the delays and backlogs are being eroded.
The report makes a selection of recommendations for coping with future PPI complaints, which include (i) continuing to focus on the earliest possible resolution of complaints, (ii) committing to provide more assertive feedback with the explicit aim of reducing complaint volumes and (iii) sharing intelligence and working closely with the FCA as it develops its Plevin guidance and considers whether and how to introduce a complaints deadline.
The FCA guidance to which the report refers is the FCA’s publication in August of draft rules and guidance1 on handling PPI complaints in light of the Supreme Court judgment in Plevin v Paragon Personal Finance Ltd2. We reported on this judgment shortly after it was handed down3. The FCA’s proposals also include the imposition of a deadline for making new PPI complaints, with the aim of bringing finality and certainty to the PPI issue. The FCA’s consultation closes on 11 October 2016, and we will report on any developments arising out of the consultation.