Ombudsman chief Ceeney to step down

Natalie Ceeney

Chief financial ombudsman Natalie Ceeney is stepping down after almost four years in the job amid signs that firms are working harder to rebuild consumer trust.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) said that after having recently received a landmark one million complaints about payment protection insurance (PPI), Ms Ceeney feels it is time to move on
The FOS, which resolves disputes between consumers and financial firms, has had to treble in size in recent years to deal with the scale of the PPI mis-selling scandal. PPI is the most complained-about product it has ever seen.

The service revealed last month that more than one million PPI complaints have now been received, but its latest figures also suggested that the scandal has started to turn a corner and complaints are gradually drifting downwards.
In the past, the ombudsman service has criticised banks for dragging their heels over PPI payouts.

But Ms Ceeney said last month that the financial sector appears now to be putting a stronger focus on consumers as the industry moves to repair ''broken'' trust.

She said she has recently been hearing of an "increasing commitment" by financial firms to treating customers well.

Chairman of the FOS, Sir Nicholas Montagu, said: " Natalie has taken the service from dealing with an annual workload of 150,000 cases to over 500,000 cases - with the organisation trebling in size under her leadership in response to the challenges of PPI.

"So having just received our millionth new PPI complaint, Natalie feels that now is the time for her to move on - as the ombudsman service itself starts out on a new set of challenges, building on the foundations for change laid under Natalie's leadership.

"The board and I are very grateful to Natalie for her achievements as head of the ombudsman service."

Deputy chief ombudsman Tony Boorman will take charge of running the service until further notice.

© 2013 Press Association
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