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and split-capital investment trusts. After some years as the FOS grew, we reconstructed the way in which we were organised. In 2005 I became Corporate Director and Principal Ombudsman responsible for corporate policy, legislation/rules under which we operate, our relationship with the Government, European Commission, the financial regulators, Office of Fair Trading and the Ministry of Justice. I was also the interim Chief Ombudsman from November 2009 to March 2010 whilst a new incumbent was appointed. The FOS has grown to a staff of 1,500 so we are a much larger organisation because of the increase in cases we deal with. Ten years ago it was 30,000 cases per year and now it is 170,000. Your expertise is shared with other countries…. Yes. We believe that we are the largest Financial Ombudsman Service in the world, perhaps the largest Ombudsman Service for any sector so anyone thinking of establishing such a service do come to us to see what we do. As a result, we are often asked to visit other countries (at their expense I hasten to add!) to explain what we do. I’ve been to Armenia, Belgium, Brazil, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.


What main advice would you give to someone with a financial complaint? Inevitably, financial organisations that deal with millions


of transactions will make mistakes from time to time. There is a very clear procedure which says that, if there is a problem and you point it out to them, they have to deal with it promptly and in any event within 8 weeks. They must give you a formal written response to your complaint saying whether they agree with it or not, offering you compensation if appropriate and informing you of your right to appeal if you disagree with the Ombudsman’s decision so long as you do so within six months. So if you have a problem, register a formal complaint as soon as possible to get our ‘wheels in motion’. How did you come to live ‘By the Dart’? My partner Jane and I were living in North Lancashire. Jane is a great sailor and long distance walker. She got to know this area well having done the South West Coastal Path. We made a decision to investigate property in the West Country as the commute to London was about the same as from Lancashire. We ended up selling our home and buying a yacht which Jane sailed around the coast searching for our new home. For about two years, I would get off the train at stations all over the West Country late on a Friday night, and still in my suit with briefcase and laptop in hand, I’d be rowing out in a dinghy to the yacht moored in a river somewhere in Devon or Cornwall. We eventually found our house in East Cornworthy which we loved immediately. The decision to buy was definitely one of the best we have ever made!u


Y p l a oors thi


SUPERSTORE making the most of your holiday


LEISURE


Walking at the Weekend, School Trips, Ten Tors & Outdoor Activities. With 10,000 square feet of products & masses of free parking, you’ve just got to drop in and see us.


On the Kingsbridge to Dartmouth coastal road.


East Charleton, Kingsbridge, Devon TQ72AP (01548) 531625 www.ashbysonline.co.uk


Please mention By The Dart when responding to adverts. To advertise here, please call 01803 835740 or email mark@bythedart.co.uk 41


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