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The FCA want to radically expand access to redress for tens of thousands of small businesses that cannot afford the legal costs of taking banks and other financial services providers to court.

In a consultation paper, the Financial Conduct Authority proposes bringing an additional 160,000 SMEs within the remit of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), which has the power to order compensation for loss up to £150,000. This would be achieved by greatly increasing the eligibility threshold for referring complaints to the ombudsman, which presently covers only individual consumers and microbusinesses.