Financial Ombudsman Service Employee Reviews about "senior management"

Updated 21 Dec 2020

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2.6
34%
Recommend to a Friend
33%
Approve of CEO
Financial Ombudsman Service Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman  Caroline Wayman  (no image)
Caroline Wayman
418 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "Also managers have no trust nor do they agree with senior management but do nothing to voice their opinions(in 99 reviews)

  • "Targets unrealistic for all investigators(in 83 reviews)

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Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

Reviews about "senior management"

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  1. Helpful (2)

    "Good place to work"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Investigator in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Colleagues are great, subsidised canteen and free gym. Work can be interesting. Nice office. Free healthcare. Lovely office.

    Cons

    Bottleneck when it comes to promotions - too many talented people and not enough roles. Systems aren’t well designed and can cause a lot of frustration. Not enough people from BAME on the board or at senior management level.

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  2. Helpful (16)

    "Great benefits, but badly mismanaged"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Adjudicator in London, England
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The benefits package - including private medical insurance, a good pension scheme, and 25 days of paid holiday plus public holidays. The on-site facilities are really good, with a free gym, two decent canteens, and modern offices. The underlying ethos of the Financial Ombudsman Service - putting fairness at the heart of the work they do there, and putting things right where they've gone wrong - makes it a place where you can really make a difference to people's lives and serve a valuable purpose in society.

    Cons

    The Financial Ombudsman Service has undergone drastic, ill-advised changes in the past few years to the way the complaints are handled. This has led to a "new way of working" which means that closing complaints is treated more like hitting sales targets, rather than case handlers taking the time necessary to understand consumers' complaints and reaching fair outcomes. Many of the appointments to the "new roles" under the "investigation" model seem to have been given to people who are lacking in genuine critical thinking skills and lacking in technical expertise (or the aptitude to learn the necessary expertise), but are instead the sort of people who can talk well without knowing what they're talking about and, in some cases, can't even write competently. Consequently, the environment has become more like a sales arena, rather than a professional dispute resolution service - where poor quality investigative work is overlooked in favour of people meeting or exceeding their productivity targets. Furthermore, the "investigation" model is financially unsustainable - costing more per case than the "old" way of working. Many cases are also taking longer, on average, to be completed than prior to the changes. This means that the new model is failing on its fundamental objectives. There are elements of poor management - both at middle-management level and senior-management level. Whilst the Financial Ombudsman Service proclaims to encourage openness and honesty, the culture is somewhat to suppress dissenting voices and discourage people from speaking up. Fundamental changes need to be made to the way the organisation views its employees - and this needs to be directed from the executive team, fed through to its very large HR department, and down through the senior management and middle managers. If fairness is to be at the heart of what the Financial Ombudsman Service does, this needs to apply to how its leaders and managers treat its staff.

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  3. COVID-19
    Helpful (3)

    "Not an organisation that values its contingent workers"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Adjudicator in Coventry, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service for more than a year

    Pros

    Floor workers and most of the team managers are great. That's really it, though.

    Cons

    Literally everything else. Apathetic senior management and a complete lack of regard for the welfare of contingent workers. No prospect of being treated as anything other than a cog in a machine. Cowardly delegating to Reed to inform people that they're being put on notice with not a word of acknowledgement or thanks from senior management regarding work already done.

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  4. "Good place to obtain transferable experience"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Claims Adjudicator in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    People, work/ life balance and training

    Cons

    Progression, pay and senior management ability

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  5. Helpful (13)

    "Poor management & overworked staff"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Location and occasionally a good work life balance.

    Cons

    Poor management, overworked staff, highly unrealistic targets and a great deal of pressure to hit target. They are more about quantity over quality and therefore they have unhappy consumers who bring their complaint to FOS. They are more concerned with hitting numbers than actually producing good quality results/outcomes. Lack of knowledge and expertise from most staff and alot of rude and unfriendly behaviours from senior management who do not engage openly with members of staff. More focused on the negative results as oppose to all the hard work the staff put in.

  6. Helpful (40)

    "Don't fall for the positive reviews left by "Yes boys""

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Nice office Decent gym Flexible working (although that is highly dependent on which manager you have) Good pension You will meet some great people working there amongst the bad apples. There are some teams/areas which are like bubbles of brilliance in the organisation and somehow avoid the toxicity of other areas. There are some brilliant managers there. Unfortunately most of them were gotten rid of when restructuring took place in 2016. But if you get (very, very, very) lucky to get one of the good managers, it will turn change the majority of your experience of the organisation from bad to "ok", and if you're really really lucky, good. You can feel like you've made a real difference in people's lives when you help them with your work and that can be very rewarding. Some people think working here looks great on your CV. In reality, it's just the same as any other job unless you want to stay in complaint-handling for the rest of your life.

    Cons

    Unrealistic targets unless you cut significant corners or stop caring about your stakeholders - exactly the two things an organisation like this is meant to prevent happening in complaints resolution. Some (a lot) of team managers and department managers will only care about whether you're making them number one on performance tables so their ego gets massaging in leadership meetings. Even if you're hitting your target, or doing more than the average performance there and doing a tonne of stuff on the side, you'll be made to feel you're not doing good enough unless you're literally the top of your department. This will drain any good feeling you got from helping consumers. Leading on from those first two points - if you're not performing to the level they want, you'll literally be told to start cutting corners by your manager just to get your closure stats to where they "should" be even if it means you start getting cases wrong. They often stick people on "Performance Plans" with added stress, without actually doing anything significant with them to improve their performance/quality at all, or any additional support whatsoever. They act like they're doing someone a favour and giving them a tonne of support just by giving them more stress to deal with, without doing anything positive. Some team and department management are incapable of appreciating any work you do outside of your main targeted key performance indicator. But they still want all of that extra work and side projects done - just without any appreciation or reward for it. One-to-ones and the regular performance reviews are often widely weighted about negatives you've done/haven't done, rather than positive things you've done. Management decisions wildly vary from one manager to the next. Some managers will hugely micro-manage you, others won't give you any support at all. Far too many "Yes boys" (who probably account for most of the positive reviews here) who make for a toxic atmosphere and just make out that everyone else is lazy when in reality they're the ones who are most likely to cut corners in their work and create problems for the rest of us. Bullying that they say they're against, but in reality do little about and often turn the other way when it's done by managers. Senior management who pretend they're on your side to gain your trust saying one thing in a meeting, then tell your managers to do the opposite. Extremely few managers will have any confidence, ability or cojones to speak up to senior management about injustices and things that are clearly wrong in the organisation - they are rarely willing to take a stand even when they know things are wrong. Some people are made to feel incapable when the actual reason they can't do something or understand something is because of the lack of solid training in certain areas. As an organisation they handle change terribly and make very poor spending decisions. They'd rather throw money away hiring expensive contractors and terrible management consultancy firms than actually fix the problems that lead to their high turnover. One of their board members once told us that having such a high turnover was a positive sign for the organisation - and that tells you just about all you need to know about their attitude to how expendable their staff are and how little they care about truly fixing the organisational problems that make staff unhappy. The job can be very stressful and most people will receive little support for it unless you're lucky enough to have one of the few brilliant managers. You'll be made to find your own way of coping unless you're one of the extremely lucky ones to have a good manager. There are far too many ways that the organisation drains the rewarding feeling of the work you do and as a result, a lot of people burn out, sometimes multiple times before leaving, and there is a very high turnover of staff. When you have teams of roughly six people yet your turnover means more than that are quitting a team each year/two years, you should know you have serious problems and be doing something about it - not just shrugging your shoulders, making excuses and carrying on. The software used was ancient and was made even worse and less user-friendly when apparently "upgrading" it. Multiple people in charge of upgrading the systems quit during the testing and transition phases because they knew how bad it was but management wouldn't back out of the bad investment they'd made. Just another example of the poor decision-making at higher levels.

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  7. Helpful (9)

    "Somewhat managed by goldfish who now find themselves far from their fish tank and in the deep blue sea."

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in London, England
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    The Board, exec team, lots of talent who are genuinely trying to make a difference, flexible working, pension contribution and a CEO who genuinely cares about the wellbeing and success of employees.

    Cons

    The dark arts, systematic practice of thwarting talent, one or two members of senior management who (tiresomely) continually try to undermind the CEO/exec team; advice to CEO: if it looks like a guileful snake in the grass, it probably is one. Perfidy is closer than you think.

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  8. Helpful (36)

    "Problems with culture, discrimination and inconsistent management"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Investigator in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    I think they are good at recruiting - because they have better staff than they deserve. Most people at the lower levels are nice, and work hard. I don't think the work is too stressful. The pay and benefits are OK. The work they do (when it is done competently) is a good thing to do. I felt good about the difference I could make for people. I could sometimes feel very proud of my work (but not consistently).

    Cons

    I think the biggest problem may be that they just don't value management skills. They recruited internally for ombudsman managers, and went almost entirely for ombudsman. They believed that making a decision was something that couldn't be taught, but that people who had never been a manager could immediately be given staff to manage with minimal support. It's wildly inconsistent. Rules vary from team to team. It's not bad if you have a good manager, but managers change. I had 3 in 6 months at one point. If you get a bad manager then it can be terrible . The organisation cannot admit it is wrong. Which means that when you get a bad manager they will back them up however obviously there is a problem. It's a wider problem, they don't just change rules they deny they have changed them (because that would mean admitting they needed to be improved). Things change constantly but they then act as if they have always been that way - that even applies to guidance they give to financial businesses. You would follow guidance and tell a complainant something, then someone would complain about you and they'd undermine you, say something different and deny you were ever given the original guidance. This is particularly bad as they changed so much. Instead of listening to staff (who provided honest and constructive feedback year after year when surveyed, only to see the same mistakes again) they paid huge amounts to consultants who got them to buy whiteboards so teams could "huddle" round them.. Which no one liked or found helpful. They got rid of them as soon as they could. I thought their customer service was good. I was genuinely impressed with the thought they would put into, for example, accessibility for disabled consumers. But they never showed any of that compassion to staff. They allowed consumers to be abusive, and did not back staff up. They treated anyone with a disability or health problem terribly. (They are obsessed with standing meetings - I was once at a training even where a heavily pregnant woman and someone with severe back problems nearly got into a fight as they each insisted the other one should take the only chair). They were racist. The number of people taking time of with stress or other induced illness was very high. (The work is not stressful, but feeling undervalued, unsupported and being given no control is). You can wait for months for guidance. Their IT systems were so terrible that they were due to bring the new system online for over 1000 staff on a Monday, and at 5pm on the Friday they changed that to less than 10 staff. They paid for outside trainers to train for the new IT system, but did not explain our jobs so they did not know what we would need to do, and could not understand any of our questions. And got them to do it while the software was still in development so by the time it was due to be rolled out it had changed beyond all recognition. And there was no budget or time left to train us in it. Instead of sitting down with expensive trainers for 2 half day sessions in computer rooms we got a 1 hour talk from one of the 10 people who had tried it, talking at double speed to try and give us as much information as possible. Instead of having an actual good culture that treats staff with respect they treat people like they are at school. Decorating competitions for Christmas, Easter egg hunts, activities like a school sports day. I was once trying to get my work done while someone was sending out quizzes and activities every hour throughout the day. They lost post/cases and I believe they lied to an independent enquiry about this. HR is terrible. The move to the new investigator system was a disaster. They badly trained people in complicated things while removing specialists to do simple work. Then strangely enough had to move away from this. Having wasted months with the training, misrepresented the jobs, and held complaints up for months while consumers waited. Most of the people who work there at the lower level are nice and hardworking (see pros) but when things do go wrong no one steps in. I've seen people in teams just stop speaking to each other while management did nothing. They talk in baffling management speak. They train people to use plain English and avoid "jargon" but do not understand that their odd touchy feeling management speak is also a type of jargon. (Their appraisals required showing that you "communicated as a person". )They paid money to get stickers for their doors (in their font, and colours) saying things like "lets PULL together". When staff survey results showed people were feeling unmotivated one of my managers made the team have a meeting so we could come up with 5 things that would motivate us. And we couldn't leave until we did. They have an exceptionally high staff turnover. Some of that is not their fault - they recruited many young people who could get better jobs with a couple of years experience. But some of it is. I knew one small training intake (8 to 12 people) where none of them lasted a year because they had been recruited on a probationary salary for 6 months, but after 6 months not a single one was taken off probation, or sacked, they were all just kept working at the lower pay being told to meet targets they could not meet (because they had not been trained or supported). The last staff survey I saw (via another expensive outside consultancy) asked how well people understood what senior management did. The findings gave a whole page to the results of this, because it was "unusual", as it showed that the higher up in the organisation someone was the less they understood what the top staff did. I think this probably sums the place up more than any single other thing - the higher up people were the less they knew until you got people who didn't know what they themselves did.

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  9. Helpful (20)

    "Sadly, not a great place to work anymore"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Investigator 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Training received in customer services.

    Cons

    There is high turnover of staff-your managers change all the time and the support and guidance from knowledge experts are inconsistent. You will always be made responsible for something another investigator has done wrong. Some managers are great, some are very controlling. They will not help support you. They say you're doing well but then follow this up with how you're not meeting targets. They threaten you with performance reviews. And when you're are on one, they give you nothing but negative feedback. This makes you doubt yourself but if you know the guidance and have sought expert advice from elsewhere, then you're safe because you can stand your ground. Managers do nothing but support you - I echo most of the bad reviews on Glassdoor-if you're liked, then you will go very far. If you're not, then opportunities are taken away from you and you are left unsupported. Managers will tell you one thing, then having sought advice from senior management, will tell you something else afterwards. Targets are unrealistic. Senior management just want figures to make themselves look good. No support for the actual hardworkers. There are some lovely and fantastic people that the organisation has lost, and this is down to lack of progression, no clear advice and poor support. I would avoid this place. So many investigators are leaving because they're so unhappy. No support whatsoever.

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  10. Helpful (26)

    "A dysfunctional, despairing, depressing organisation with incompetent management"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Market Research in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Decent benefits and office location

    Cons

    The 'service' has a nasty, bullying and dysfunctional workplace culture. Top and senior management are incompetent with so many managers either narcissists or totally out of their depth having blagged their way to their role, and many having a combination of both of those things. Too many managers are on way too much money riding the gravy train by filling their time having 'meetings' about nothing and milking the organisation financially while contribution very little, if anything at all, to the successful stewardship of the organisation. There is also a 'do nothing' culture that permeates, so no wonder so many consumers who bring complaints to the 'service' and businesses regulated by the FCA think the organisation is not fit for purpose.

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