FOS chief Caroline Wayman to exit after seven years

Sophie King reports

Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) chief executive Caroline Wayman is stepping down from her role next month after seven years in the job.

Wayman is also chief ombudsman at the complaints organisation. 

In a note published on the FOS website, Wayman (pictured) said: “After nearly seven years I have decided that the time is right for me to step down from the role. It’s been an honour and a privilege to have led the service throughout this time.”

She added the service had reached a “pivotal point”: in 2021 we expect to receive our final PPI [payment protection insurance] cases and as nations, organisations and individuals, we are contemplating a landscape shaped and forever changed by a global pandemic.

It’s against this backdrop, that the service is embarking on the next phase of its journey and it’s time for me to do the same.”

Wayman has worked for the service for 22 years and been in the top job for the last seven.

The number of complaints to the FOS has been increasing recently, with the body receiving more cases in 2020 than in any other financial year.

In August last year, the ombudsman also highlighted the impact Covid-19 has had on a wide range of financial issues, receiving more than 3,500 complaints relating to the virus. Nearly a quarter of the complaints were from those who had travel plans disrupted and had travel insurance claims declined by the insurer.

The FOS has also received 200 complaints about claims to banks made under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 from consumers who wanted their money refunded by their credit providers. These were for cancelled holidays, sport fixtures and concerts.

‘Significant milestones’

FOS chairman Baroness Zahida Manzoor said: “Caroline’s departure comes at the end of a long career, during which time she’s played a key role in significant milestones in the service’s history.

“Most recently, Caroline has, of course, been steering the service through its response to Covid-19, ensuring operational resilience and balancing the dual responsibilities of serving customers and supporting staff, during these most challenging of times.

“On behalf of the board, the executive and all the staff at the service, I would like to record our thanks and wish Caroline every success in her future endeavours.”

The note also said the appointment of the chief ombudsman and chief executive is made by the organisation’s board and an “open process for recruiting Caroline Wayman’s successor” would begin shortly.