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Caroline Wayman, Chief Ombudsman, FOS

The Financial Ombudsman service is an informal alternative to the courts that is free for consumers to use and provides an independent view on the financial service problems people bring to it. The ombudsman service has around 4000 staff and handles close to half a million cases and over 1.6 million enquiries every year.

Caroline was appointed chief ombudsman and chief executive of the service in July 2014. She is an experienced member of the strategic leadership team, having first been appointed to the executive in 2011 as principal ombudsman and legal director.

In her 15 years at the ombudsman, Caroline has helped lead the organisation through substantial change, as the demand for its help has reached unprecedented levels.

As principal ombudsman, Caroline led a panel of over 200 ombudsmen and was responsible for both the consistency of the panel’s decision-making and their professional leadership. And as legal director, Caroline led the ombudsman’s in-house legal team, advising the executive and the board on all legal issues. Before that, Caroline led the teams that handled a quarter of a million mortgage endowment complaints, before she went on to lead the ombudsman’s response to the PPI judicial review. Caroline was instrumental in formulating the ombudsman’s approach to the ensuing PPI cases which have reached the ombudsman service at levels never seen before. To date, close to 1.5 million people have asked the ombudsman for help with their PPI dispute.

Caroline was called to the bar and spent her early career working in the insurance industry before joining the Insurance Ombudsman Bureau in 1999. Her work away from the ombudsman service includes her role on the board of the Claims Management Regulator, which she joined in 2014.