Turner chosen for ombudsman scheme

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THE PERSONAL Investment Authority, the body that plans to take over regulation of the private savings market, has appointed the Labour peer, Baroness Turner of Camden, as head of its ombudsman scheme.

Investors with complaints against financial services firms will be able to seek awards of up to pounds 50,000 from the PIA ombudsman, which will be compulsory for life insurers, financial advisers and others regulated by the new watchdog. The scheme will largely follow last year's proposals from Lord Ackner, the former law lord who called for a unified complaints procedure to replace the existing multiplicity.

Lady Turner is a former union leader who was a member of the Trades Union Congress general council from 1981 to 1987. She is also a council member of the Occupational Pensions Advisory Service, and vice-chairman of the all-party Parliamentary committee on financial services. In the House of Lords, she is a Labour spokeswoman on employment and social services matters.

It is not yet clear how the PIA ombudsman scheme will dovetail with the insurance ombudsman and other similar schemes.

Julian Farrand, the insurance ombudsman, has taken a prominent role in dealing with investors who suffered because of so-called home income plans, where elderly homeowners re-mortgaged their properties to release money for investment.

The Insurance Ombudsman Bureau, a voluntary scheme, is able to make awards of up to pounds 100,000.

The PIA hopes to publish its prospectus in two weeks and to assume its responsibilities by the summer.