Compensation limit increased from £150,000 to £350,000.

As of the 1st April 2019 the Financial Ombudsman Service compensation limit has now been increased from the current £150,000 to £350,000.

In a policy statement, the FCA says the development will allow the ombudsman to require financial services firms to pay significantly more compensation to consumers and businesses.

FOS Compensation

New Limit

The limit has increased to £350,000 for complaints about actions by firms on or after that date.

For complaints about actions before 1st April 2019 that are referred to the FOS after that date, the limit will rise to £160,000.

The FCA has also confirmed that both award limits will be automatically adjusted every year to ensure they keep pace with inflation.

The new award limit will come into force at the same time as the extension of the service to small and medium-sized enterprises, not just individual complainants.

This will include firms with fewer than 50 employees, annual turnover of under £6.5m and an annual balance sheet total of under £5m.

An additional 210,000 SMEs will be able to complain to the FOS.

Financial Conduct Authority

FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey says: “Consumers and small businesses struggle with the cost and time needed to take firms to court, so it is essential they can receive fair compensation from the FOS when things go wrong.

“We have listened carefully to the feedback we have received and believe our approach is right and will bring benefits to both the consumers and micro-enterprises currently eligible for the ombudsman service and the small businesses who will become eligible in April.”

Impact on the Profession

Professional indemnity insurers will be passing on their increased exposure and potential liabilities to financial planning firms,, just like Longhurst, through increased PI insurance premiums.

The FCA have warned that this could see increases of up to 500% at PI cover renewal.

We will wait to see the impact here at Longhurst, but hope (and expect) any increases in our operational costs to be sensible and within reason.