Financial Ombudsman Service Reviews | Glassdoor

Financial Ombudsman Service Reviews

Updated July 26, 2017
322 reviews

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Caroline Wayman
197 Ratings

322 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Senior management have no idea what they are doing (in 57 reviews)

  • And they'll be expected to take a drop in pay after two years if they want to be part of the organisation's new way of working (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (3)

    "Working at the Financial Ombudsman"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Ombudsman
    Current Employee - Ombudsman
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good work life balance. Rarely needed to work over time. Comprehensive training and good opportunities for personal growth. Management are open to honest conversations. Benefits are very good.

    Cons

    Pay needs to be more competitive - and restructure means that individuals will be expected to take on more responsibility going forward.

    Advice to Management

    Communicate changes transparently - and as soon as possible. Share the transition strategy more openly as it will reassure employees.


  2. Helpful (20)

    "The balance has tipped"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Manager in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good colleagues good pay. It will be great again. We just need to all work together. Bigger changes need to happen.

    Cons

    Let me say first that I love my job. I really enjoy it and I'm good at it. I've tried really hard to ignore all the negativity but now the balance has tipped and I can't see a future here.

    Despite the survey results the exec and Caroline's video shows that they are going to do nothing about it. Nice little video of senior leaders having a meeting. Does anyone know who any of them are and what they do??? We need to strip all layers of management back. We don't need so many heads of and managers, especially in stake holder. That's the next section that needs looking at and restructuring.

    Investigators are doing great jobs but the lack of experience shows. We need experts on the teams not discovery. Getting them to take calls from the beginning was a good idea but not sustainable. It's a waste of resource. Some investigators are being paid 40k plus to answer the phone to people who think they're calling their insurer or need the communications onbudsman. We need 2 tiers again. Let level 1 investigators who are struggling take calls and progress cases for level 3 and seniors to work. Give them lower targets.

    Everyone is starting to feel the pressure and we need action now.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of half the stakeholder team. We don't need them. Especially manager upwards. All we need is business engagement.

    Look at the senior management level. Do we need them all?

    Ask onbudsman managers and investigators how they think the role should look. Try out some things. Some will work some won't.

  3. Helpful (29)

    "We needed a Martin Scorsese but we got Adam Sandler"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager
    Current Employee - Manager
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    The staff giving it a real go to do what we were set up for in difficult circumstances. The offices are pretty decent.

    Cons

    As you have probably read, be it here or otherwise, the service is going through change, a reboot if you will. Given the important role we play in people's lives, we needed a reboot akin to Casino Royale, a seamless and excellent direction with instant results. Instead however, we got the Karate Kid. A lacklustre effort, poorly executed which nobody can make sense of, with key roles being given to the wrong people.

    In theory, the changes were needed and many people have agreed with them. It's just the poor way they have been carried out. The communication has been the worst I've ever seen. Things have been rushed and ill advised or just poorly managed.

    We have people here who are running things that they should have no control of. They are many, but for some reason, business analysts are dictating some areas of the business that they have no place in.

    The staff survey results were published recently and it makes for tragic reading. It brings all the negative reviews on this site to life. It's embarrassing as it is shameful. Ms Wayman in her infinate wisdom assumed that the vast majority of grumpy folk were those that did not transition to the "new world", and were consigned to the mass claims world, which as our principal ombudsman says is a place to go to look elsewhere for jobs. Wayman's assumption was wrong, the disappointment, poor morale and general disillusionment is as rife in the new shiny world as it is in mass claims.

    The senior management will often tell stakeholders or the press that despite morale being low, our customers are telling us that they are the happiest they have ever been. That I'm afraid is not an entirely accurate response. The figures that are given mask a very troubling fact of customer dissatisfaction. The good news we are promoting comes from feedback received before we even give an answer on a complaint. Of course customers will be happy, we haven't found a way to annoy them yet.

    A few years ago at the copperbox in Stratford, Caroline Wayman said she wanted to tap into people's skills and release their potential. This hasn't happened. In the very first recruitment drive for Ombudsman Managers, all but 5 approx appointments were existing ombudsmen. The assumption was that anyone can manage. That's not correct , and is the reason why so many in the new world are unhappy. I saw a recent review here which said that you have no chance if you are an introvert. This is so true. You can have all the essential skills needed on paper, but if you are not bouncing around like zebedee before or during an interview, you literally have no chance with progression.

    Ombudsman (call it what you will) jobs are now being given to people who have no relevant experience, skills or knowledge. Neither are they being accredited. We used to appoint people to the Ombudsman panel using a careful recruitment process, a tough one given the nature of the role but you now may as well give them out with a happy meal.

    It will take a long time to not only get the new rebooted service up and running, but also repair the damage done, mostly internally but also externally. How we can possibly do this is anyone's guess, particularly given that over 80% of staff are of the opinion that the executive team will take no action/notice whatsoever

    Advice to Management

    Caroline won't resign. But someone needs to put their name on this complete mess and go. Otherwise, just start thinking about the impact your poorly executed decisions are having on YOUR people.


  4. Helpful (42)

    "It changed so much it became unbearable! I had to leave"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Adjudicator in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Adjudicator in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great people that can become lifelong friends. Company sponsored development.

    Cons

    Where do I start? This company used to be so great. Everyone was treated like an adult, so many development opportunities and transparency. Mature working environment where you learned so much and grew as an individual. Fair and reasonable as it's main slogan filtered right down to the way it was run.

    Then I returned from maternity leave to a different CEO and what seemed like a completely different company. Being ran like a free-for-all.
    No more transparency, micro-managed like children, no flexibility to accommodate home life, favouritism and people being "promoted" because they are friends with the right people.

    Honestly, I could go on but it's too exhausting. Everything became so unreasonable that I had to move on to work in an adult environment again.

    Which is what management seemed to want anyway because people were basically being pushed out with their new "investigator" roles that are simply more work for less pay.

    A few years back I would have highly recommended this organisation and role - but now I would advise anyone who wants to work in a stable and sound place to steer clear.

    Advice to Management

    Remember what the values are and ensure that these are implemented not just when it comes to customers but also when it comes to considering staff. If people are unhappy then the best people will leave and the organisation's reputation will suffer greatly as the "answer" will no longer be in the room!


  5. Helpful (22)

    "Great as first job, but no career progression and too much micromanagement"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time

    Pros

    The people were great, I made good friends and enjoyed spending time in and out of work with my colleagues , it made the monotony of the role more bearable.

    Pay was decent for first role out of uni- bonus and annual pay increases are pretty competitive.

    Nice location and actually a very diverse working environment(at lower levels)- reflective of London!

    Cons

    Too much micro management and very little real progression, development depended purely on how much your line manager liked you and how they viewed your potential. Became boring and not really anything to keep you engaged. Lack of diversity in higher levels.

    Little communication with other departments- HR are not impartial at all.

    Advice to Management

    Your employees are not numbers- we are people with aspirations and that needs to be tapped into!


  6. Helpful (15)

    "Ticking timebomb"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Colleagues, pension, subsidised cafe and gym

    Cons

    Company is sleepwalking into the abyss with no direction by senior management

    Advice to Management

    Senior Management - not just directors need their positions reviewing.


  7. Helpful (11)

    "Adjudicator"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time

    Pros

    Can work the hours you want.

    Cons

    No progression, no-one knows what is happening, pay and bonus below the industry standard

  8. Helpful (7)

    "If you hate it so much, you know where to go"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Adjudicator
    Current Employee - Adjudicator
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time

    Pros

    The people, the reason we're all there, the work to a degree, the cafes, the benefits

    Cons

    The people who don't stop moaning. If it's really that bad, just go. It's a job. Despite what you might think, you're paid well for what you do. Go elsewhere and see for yourselves - you might get paid more but you'll do more for that money. It's not an easy job, the new world is hard. I've witnessed it for myself. But jobs aren't easy. You have to be made of strong stuff to get through some of the harder days at any job.

    From what I can tell, the people who are ranting on here are annoyed that they stopped getting promoted every 5 minutes, or that they can't work from home 3 days a week any more. I accept that I was lucky to be able to do that before - it became a habit, but one that I was smart enough to recognise as a benefit, not a right.

    I'm choosing to embrace being paid my adjudicator salary that I've accrued from many years of working here - but work in mass claims which is a lot easier. I won't be here for long enough to try to work my way up the ladder again. But if I was going to be, I'd get a grip and go for it.

    It appals me that the organisation we work for was voted as one of the worst companies in the UK - voted by the employees. That's this lot on here who spent time writing reviews rather than job hunting who did that.

    Advice to Management

    There's work to be done - but my review isn't about you.


  9. Helpful (46)

    "You've heard. Now it's time to listen!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Cafe, benefits, gym, some good people.

    Cons

    The results of the staff survey are in and surprise, surprise they are the same as the various focus groups, Glass Door entries and pulse surveys over the past year. So why does this seem a surprise to senior management? Why did they not have a couple of changes under their belt that could be announced in response to the survey results? Where on Earth are the comms team and what were they thinking?

    The survey results were announced and a horribly wishy washy video was sent out to all staff by our CEO which called the results "disappointing" and noted the only action to be taken was to "think about this over the summer". Well that'll keep everyone happy! Even worse is that when asked for comment, in front of senior managers, the rest of the exec reacted with silence - too busy sharpening their knives for the CEOs back I guess. Since then we now have emails and a visit from one of those members of the exec. Hmmm what could he possibly be trying to make himself look good for at this time when the CEO looks in danger of losing her job? Maybe he just really cares about us all and the Service? Maybe.

    So what has gone wrong at FOS? Well, the board appointed a CEO who is technically incredibly strong and astute, but who lacks the gravitas and persona of her predecessor as well as her business acumen. So it was important that she surrounded herself with people who had these skills and knowledge that she lacks - the first rule of leadership. That should have meant looking for people who had experience at a similar level elsewhere. But what actually happened was she promoted internal people, who have little external experience, and certainly none at such a senior level. This meant no new ideas, or experience of the pitfalls. We are now in the middle of a huge pitfall - the right people at the top would have seen this coming a mile off. The board have failed the CEO here. It is their job to guide her and they have not done so. They remain invisible and have avoided the majority of the criticism, but they are to blame for this mess. Shame on you!

    So now we have paid PWC consultants millions to design a new way of working. They have come up with the perfect sales model. Sadly we are not a sales organisation. The quality of the decisions we make must always be the most important thing and that is not what this model is focusing on. We simply cannot be Jack of all trades. We must be masters of what we do otherwise we are worse than the businesses we criticise. Now it will be hard to deviate from the PWC plan as the, when it fails, PWC will simply say "well that;s because you didn't follow our plan". It's a lose - lose situation.

    However, this is not the main problem. The main problem is the awful recruitment programme that has seen all the wrong people get the investigator and ombudsman manager roles. There are a handful on people who were successful in their application for ombudsman manager who have both ombudsman and manager experience and skills. They are finding the job to be a good fiit and making it work. However, that is very much the minority. Most of those jobs were given to ombudsmen, with the impression being given that it is east to learn to manage. News Flash - this is why the staff attrition in investigation has gone through the roof. And did you ask any of your experienced managers to help train or shadow these ombudsmen for their new role? Well no. That would mean connecting investigation and mass claims and we can't possibly have that can we? So the centuries of management experience in IH goes untapped. And this is exactly the same for adjudicators and investigators. We all watched open mouthed as the weaker adjudicators were successful in investigator applications, and the strong candidates were left behind. All the better for mass claims I guess! But it is why the new way of working does not work. And it is why the amount of work being produced is so low it is costing £900 per case (when we receive £550).

    Meanwhile, sound bites are released telling those in mass claims (which is working just fine thanks) they will be out of a job by 2020 - thanks for that. We feel so valued. Let's all step back and watch the FOS implode.

    Advice to Management

    CEO - put your hands up and admit this has all been a mess and actually tell us something that is going to happen. Commit to doing something. Anything!

    Then, sack whoever approved that video you sent. And a few other top names.

    Look outside of the organisation for experienced leaders, who have managed an organisation from being on its knees back to success - we are going to need that experience.

    Get out there in front of people and show your human side. The videos are so emotionless and all clearly written by our comms team (who are clearly inept - sack them all).

    Sadly, I think it is actually time to resign - you meant well but have been out of your depth and not had the support you needed. Time to bow out.

    Exec - stand up and be counted you cowards. Tell you CEO what is happening and what you suggest to help, or get out. Why on Earth have you all been so silent for so long? Lining your pockets and being unable to believe your luck in getting a job based solely on being in a 5 a side football team all those years ago.

    Board - where are you? Who are you? Why have you stood by and let this happen? You have failed your CEO and should be utterly ashamed of yourselves. Have a clear out at the top and bring in some competence from elsewhere.


  10. Helpful (49)

    "Mayday, Mayday - we are sinking!!!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Human Resources in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Human Resources in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good facilities, nice office, good canteen, good location, free gym, good pay and benefits. Work not challenging, good work/life balance and some great people.

    Cons

    I will try to be as concise as possible but having worked in HR, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. So here it comes.... get your popcorn and read on.

    The workforce is totally disengaged, disillusioned and frustrated, this is why:
    1. We have very weak/inapt senior leadership, who all are home-grown. We need to cross-fertilise and bring more commercially minded leaders. Yes you read right – COMMERCIALLY MINDED. Oh I hear the gasps – “but we are not for profit”. Maybe so – but your decisions still need to be commercial and fit for purpose!
    2. There is a complete lack of a strategic narrative. We need a clear, compelling narrative of where we are headed and why. This isn't clear to 99% of the population and I am sorry to say - I work in HR and I am still none the wiser. SIMPLIFY. If Joe Bloggs can’t articulate it in one minute – they have not understood it, meaning you haven’t explained it clearly enough. What I am referring to is called a STRATEGY i.e. a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim. Then everything you do on day to day basis needs to flow from that….and your employees need to know the strategy so each cog they spin – they spin in the right direction. SIMPLES.
    3. The employee voice at the Ombudsman is completely ignored, ridiculed or talked away. This is the very reason why people have taken to Glassdoor to express their inner dialogue. This is linked to very poor communication. Information is drip-fed, orchestrated by internal comms. The FOS was number 25 in the not-for-profit list on the Sunday Times Top 100 Company list in 2013 - can someone please explain how we have got to be one of the worst companies to work for in the UK according to the Telegraph in just 4 years (I should add that FOS was the only non-retail employer on the list). Currently on Glassdoor, we are on par with Poundland – no offence to Poundland but we are a GOVERNEMENT agency. I feel truly ashamed. What are our customers thinking when they come to us?
    4. No integrity or trust. What the leadership tell their employees is not what they actually want in practice. There is a real dissonance in what we say our values are and what actually happens in reality. This translate into some very poor recruitment practices (internally and externally), sink or swim culture overlaid with - if your face fits - great, if not you will be bullied out.
    5. Lack of opportunities for involvement, progression or upskilling. I feel like I am deskilling daily at the FOS. Employees rely know what is expected of them (how many of you have objectives?) we don't feel appreciated (when is the last time someone said well done?) only feedback you get is when you are getting told off for something you probably had no control over in the first place – but someone has to get the blame and it’s your turn so like it or lump it. Furthermore, there is no autonomy in my role and the red tape is second to none. Nobody can make a decision on their own, there are at least 5 approval stages, decision by committee. There is a simple solution here – WHAT is decided by the leadership, but HOW is decided by the people – get your employees involved and listen to what they have to say.
    6. Constant change – because we don’t get it right first time. In HR we have had three HR transformations in three years – all badly executed, poorly planned, poorly communicated, ill-conceived. All down to inability to make decisions, inability to listen to your staff, inability to come up with a plan and stick to it. Speaking more generally to all leadership – there is no shame in standing up and admitting you got something wrong. You would get a lot more trust and respect if you did that. Rather than pretending all is well when there isn’t one thing we can point to that is actually going well at the Ombudsman at the moment.
    Which leads me to my conclusion – I thought I was joining the Ombudsman to work for an organisation which prides itself on fairness and doing the right thing. Perhaps so on paper – not in reality. I have learnt how not to do things: how not to run projects, how not to communicate, how to disengage and disempower employees…I hope someone can turn this tanker around, but it is sinking fast, don't be so arrogant FOS, even the biggest ships sink….I am jumping out to salvage my career. BYE!

    Advice to Management

    Go and get some experience else where - you can always come back, for now we need some new blood and leadership that know what they are doing. Sorry to be so blunt...


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