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ombudsman news

issue 139

January/February 2017

the generation game

Alongside unexpected political events, intergenerational fairness has been a persistent theme of the last year or so. The question of whether younger people are worse off than their parents and grandparents has sparked media conversations, think-tank reports, and an ongoing Parliamentary inquiry. And the broader social trends underlying the debate - spanning money, lifestyles and longevity - will be reflected in the way people engage with financial services, and inevitably in the problems we see. With lifespans increasing, the ongoing challenge for the financial services sector - including its regulators and us - will be to keep up with the pace of change.

Mortgages are just one example. A little over a year ago, we highlighted the complaints we'd received from people who felt unfairly treated because of their age. Many of these people had unsuccessfully tried to change or apply for mortgages. And in this ombudsman news, our ombudsman Simon Pugh reflects on what's happened in the meantime.

At the other end of the scale, we've also shared the problems we see involving people aged under 25. Although PPI is still by far the issue people complain to us about the most, it barely features at all among younger consumers' complaints. I very much hope generations to come don't experience a similar mis-selling scandal. Yet being young, just like being older, undoubtedly comes with particular financial challenges - ranging from trying to reduce the typically higher costs of motor insurance, to the risk of getting caught up in fraud.

As we said in our plans and budget consultation - which closed last week - we'll continue to share our insight into what we're seeing. And we're open to suggestions about how we can do that most effectively. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to respond - and we're looking forward to sharing our finalised plans next month.

Caroline Wayman

Image: Caroline Wayman
Caroline Wayman
chief ombudsman

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.