Consumer group Fairer Finance has appointed two new directors to join its board, as it launches a new complaints advice service for banks, advisers and insurers.

Melissa Collett joins the business after 11 years at the Financial Ombudsman Service, and will head up Fairer Finance's new complaints services.

Dan King, the former publisher of Insurance Times, has also joined the company - heading up commercial operations for the business.

Fairer Finance's new services help firms offer a better customer experience and save money by improving their complaints handling. Fairer Finance can either carry out retrospective audits of past complaints, or review and advise on live complaints - providing a qualified view on how a complaint would be viewed if escalated to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

James Daley, managing director of Fairer Finance, said: "If financial services firms are to improve their reputation, they must start by surpassing customers' expectations when things go wrong. Every complaint provides an opportunity to leave a customer feeling more positive about your business - but too many companies squander this.

"We want to help companies provide a better complaints service, and reduce the number of complaints that they see escalated to the Financial Ombudsman. That doesn't mean upholding every complaint. But it does mean quickly dealing with every valid complaint, and having a more constructive dialogue with customers where complaints are rejected."

Melissa Collett, director of Fairer Finance, said: "Over a third of insurance complaints - and more than a quarter of banking complaints - that are referred to the Ombudsman are upheld in favour of the customer. That's bad for customers and bad for the industry too.

"I know from my experience at the Ombudsman that effective complaints handling leads to lower costs for businesses, and more loyal customers. What company wouldn't want that?"

Dan King, director of Fairer Finance, said: "I'm delighted to be a part of the Fairer Finance team. Creating a fair and successful financial services industry that serves consumers well is in every one's interests. I'm excited to be part of a business that is working to make that a reality."

Notes to Editors

To speak to James Daley, please email, or call 020 7566 3191.

Melissa Collett biography

Melissa heads up Fairer Finance’s complaints services, working with companies to improve their complaint handling and minimise costly disputes. She also contributes her expertise to our work helping companies provide clearer communications.

Prior to joining Fairer Finance, Melissa was Senior Ombudsman at the Financial Ombudsman Service, with over 11 years’ experience in handling consumer disputes, making over 1,500 legally-binding ombudsman decisions. She was responsible for developing many of FOS’s approaches to insurance and liaising with the industry and the Law Commission. Before joining FOS, she was a solicitor at Hogan Lovells, specialising in insurance litigation and regulation.

Melissa frequently speaks at conferences and events, sits on panels, and writes articles on consumer insurance topics.

Dan King biography

Dan oversees Fairer Finance's strategic and business development, and manages relations with the companies we work with.

Prior to joining Fairer Finance, Dan worked for more than 20 years in the business to business and consumer publishing industry, holding senior roles at Newsquest Specialist Media, Centaur, Emap, Orange and Adlink. Most recently, Dan was Publisher of Insurance Times.

About Fairer Finance

Fairer Finance is a consumer group with a mission to get a better deal for customers of banks and insurers. It rates banks, building societies and insurers based on what their customers think of them, how good they are at handling complaints and how transparent they are. Its campaigns and research are funded by the work it does advising financial services companies on how to be fairer and clearer with their customers.

Notes to Editors