A new super ombudsman service to deal with consumer complaints about public services is on the way.
The government intends to integrate several existing ombudsman services into one body for dealing with grievances about Parliament, the National Health Service, local government and housing.
The aim is to streamline the handling of complaints from people who feel they have had poor treatment from public services.
The government wants to make the service easier to access and to improve public services by identifying problem areas.
The draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech as key legislation for the new Parliament to consider.
The new ombudsman will be independent of all public services and will have the power to investigate complaints and award compensation.
A consultation looking at how the current service works has already been undertaken and the results were published in March 2015.
The consultation also included a review of the current public service ombudsman schemes.
Binary options regulation may change
Consumer watchdogs the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is considering new regulations to monitor the binary options industry.
Binary options are financial instruments that let investors speculate on the short term movement of shares, currencies or commodities and most other financial products that can have their movement indexed.
Binary option regulation is currently undertaken by the UK Gambling Commission if an operator has a base in the UK.
If not, the firm is not regulated and consumers have no redress if they have a complaint or lose money unfairly.
New rules would make binary options a financial product rather than a gambling proposition.
Warnings about bogus advisers – Worldwide
Bogus adviser alerts on the International Organisation of Securities Commissions web site:
- USFIA INC – Spain
- BPS Business Prozesse und Systeme AG – Switzerland
- DFRF Enterprises LLC, DFRF Enterprises Ltd – Canada
Warnings about bogus advisers – UK
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) web site has issued no warnings this week
Dealing with an unregulated firm
If you buy shares, save money or invest with an unregulated firm, you lose any protection offered by the Financial Ombudsman and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Broadly, you have no independent place to complain if the deal goes wrong and are unlikely to win any compensation.
Checking if a firm is regulated
Go to the Financial Services Register to check if a firm is regulated in the UK.
Reporting a suspected bogus adviser