Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)


    The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an independent body in the UK, established by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, to provide a free service to consumers that have been allegedly wronged by a financial firm or institution.

    In contrast to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, the FOS handles complaints against FSA-authorised firms that are still trading and/or able to offer compensation to consumers.

    The FOS steps in to deal with individual complaints of consumers against financial firms in the event that the consumers are unable to resolve the issues themselves.

    The FOS has varying degrees of powers and in the event that it finds the financial firm at fault, it can order the firm to right the issue. It cannot impose a fine on a firm as this responsibility falls under the jurisdiction of the FSA.

    The decisions of the FOS are not final; if the consumer disagrees with a decision made by the FOS that is in the firm’s favour, they are free to pursue court action. However, accepting a decision by the FOS is binding on both parties.