For 2008/09 we forecast a surplus of £1.7 million, which is £1.0 million lower than the figure originally budgeted. Income was above budget, because we settled and closed more cases than planned. But this was more than offset by higher expenses, as we recruited new directly-employed and outsourced adjudicators to deal with the large volume of new cases. These new adjudicators did not cover their costs within the year because of the 'lead-in' time needed before they became fully-trained and effective.
For 2009/10, we have budgeted for a small surplus of £0.3 million, in order to maintain our reserves at about 5% of budget expenditure. The significant increase in the total budget is in line with the substantial increase in our workload, and reflects:
Out of the total income budgeted for 2009/10:
|provision for bad/doubtful debts||(0.4)||(0.4)||(0.4)||(0.5)|
|staff and staff-related costs||41.2||48.2||50.6||77.5|
|premises and facilities||4.3||4.2||4.6||6.5|
Our unit cost represents our total costs (apart from the cost of financing) divided by the number of cases resolved.
The unit cost for 2008/09 is expected to be close to budget, at £544. The unit cost budgeted for 2009/10 shows a small increase of 2.8% to £559.
This represents a significant reduction on our original unit cost of £684 in 2001/02. If that figure had increased in line with inflation, it would now be nearer £900.
For 2009/10 the year-end headcount budget is distributed as follows:
|casework divisions and ombudsmen||523||846||918|
|customer contact division||91||121||121|
The additional caseworkers are needed to resolve the record number of 165,000 cases, while the increase in the customer contact division is to handle the higher level of consumer enquiries, both written and by phone. Support-service numbers are increasing in order to service a larger organisation, to implement our accessibility and transparency projects, and to implement our enhanced quality initiatives.
In line with the feedback we have received from the financial businesses which provide our funding, we aim to collect around 75% of our total income from the case fees we receive. We propose doing this by increasing the case fee to £500 in all three jurisdictions.
In order to limit the overall increase in the annual levy to 3%, we plan to leave the number of 'free cases' unchanged, at three for each business each year. We will review that number in future years when there may be less pressure on the levy.
Resolving 165,000 cases should raise £73.4 million in case fees, after allowing for the expected cost of the 'free cases'.
The rest of our expenditure, amounting to £19.5 million (compared with £19.0 million in the 2008/09 budget), would be raised through the 2009/10 annual levy across our three jurisdictions.
The FSA will consult separately on the levy payable by FSA-regulated firms in the compulsory jurisdiction. The method of allocating that levy was consulted on in the FSA's consultation paper CP74. Broadly, it involves two stages:
This means that the levy for an individual industry block may change by a greater or lesser amount than the overall levy - to reflect the sectors from which our workload comes. We estimate that nearly 83% of the firms liable to pay the levy will pay only the minimum levy for their industry block.
Subject to the FSA's consultation, typical levies in the compulsory jurisdiction are likely to be:
|2007/08 levy £||2008/09
|bank or building society with 2 million relevant accounts||18,000||46,000||54,000|
|general insurer with £100 million of relevant gross premium income||6,500||12,600||12,600|
|life office with £200 million of relevant adjusted gross premium income||24,000||9,800||5,000|
|investment adviser that holds client money and has 50 relevant approved persons||7,500||4,000||2,750|
|three-partner firm of independent financial advisers that does not hold client money||135||120||105|
|mortgage intermediary firm||50||60||65|
|insurance intermediary firm with £0.5m commission income||50||60||80|
The total levy for the consumer credit jurisdiction in 2009/10 has been set at £2.4 million (net of the OFT's collection costs), which is the same figure as for 2008/09. This is in line with our aim to average this levy over the 5-year renewal period for consumer credit licences. The OFT sets the amount of the levy payable by individual licensees who take out or renew licences during the year.
The 2009/10 rates of levy proposed for voluntary jurisdiction (VJ) participants are set out in annex D.