Complaints Commissioner concerned about information sharing between FOS and FCA

In a recent report the Complaints Commissioner expressed concern about the absence of published information about how and in what circumstances information about live ombudsman cases may be shared between the FOS and the FCA.

The complaint alleged that the FCA illegally influenced the FOS in its handling of complaints against a firm represented by the complainant.  Among other points, the complainant was unhappy that the FCA might give an interpretation of guidance, rules or otherwise seek to influence the FOS’ decisions other than in an open and fully published manner to provide all parties with visibility.

While the complaint was not upheld, the report concluded by inviting the FCA

“to consider discussing with the FOS whether there should be clear guidance about the circumstances in which information may be shared between the FOS and the FCA in advance of final ombudsman decisions, and about any limitations on information sharing between the two bodies, or within them; and whether, where the FCA is sharing information with the FOS, the norm should be that this will be made known to the parties, the reasons for any exceptions being recorded.”

The Commission has also published the FCA’s response, in which it confirms that it will consider with the FOS whether there should be clear guidance about the circumstances in which information may be shared between the FOS and the FCA in advance of final ombudsman decisions.