The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is in the process of deciding how it will go about publishing its decisions, and one of the main points of contention has been whether or not it should name the firms involved.
In a recent update, it said it would almost certainly stick to its guns on the issue and name the firms, but not the complainants, involved in cases.
Most business are against the idea.
IFAonline sifted through some of the responses to the consultation to find out why most businesses are opposed to the publication of firm names in decisions.
Perhaps the key concern is that publishing the name of the firm involved will damage their reputation, even if the decision goes in their favour.
St James's Place Wealth Management said: "The publication of complaints data has already demonstrated how the media uses such data, often out of context, to the detriment of the industry as a whole.
"The learning points of the Ombudsman's decisions would not be diminished by the omission of the firm's details."
Claims management companies
One of the key concerns is that claims management companies will use the data they mine from the publication of decisions to refine their processes and give businesses a headache.
Zurich Financial Services said: "In relation to our life business, we frequently see complaints from third party complaint companies that use a ‘scatter-gun' approach to list many potential triggers to achieve a successful complaint outcome.
"This is irrespective of the customer's true underlying complaint. In our opinion, publishing the identity of the firm alongside decisions will only help complaint companies target firms with increased complaints.
Not a government initiative
The Ombudsman is having to publish decisions as a result of the Financial Services Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, although it made no mention of naming firms.
Reynolds Porter Chamberlain said: "The FOS was always premised on being a quick and informal dispute resolution service. Naming firms will not help resolve complaints.
"The draft Financial Services Bill is silent on whether the identities of firms should be disclosed (it merely requires that the complainants' identity should not). This is a proposal being driven by FOS alone."
Even if the Ombudsman does go ahead with naming firms, as looks likely, some are urging it not to reveal the identities of the advisers involved.
AIFA said: "These individuals are not the regulated entity. They are subject to the training and competency requirements of the firm.
"Their reputation or future employment credential should not be compromised for the sake of publication. All employee names should be deleted but they could be replaced with the employee's job titles."
Professional indemnity insurance costs have already been soaring in recent years and, according to some, the Ombudsman's plans could raise them even higher.
AWD Chase de Vere said: "The FOS should make enquires to ascertain the views of PII insurers and whether the proposals will bring further challenges to an already difficult market place.
"AWD expects PII costs to increase as a result; this does not appear to have been considered in the consultation.
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