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Complaints against networks drop

The Financial Ombudsman Service (Fos) saw an increase of more than a third in complaints in 2013, but networks have seen a decline.

The ombudsman took a record 575,836 new cases in 2013, an increase of 38 per cent. However, major adviser network Sesame has gone against the trend. Although it still leads in terms of complaints, 213 complaints were recorded in the last half of the year, down 27 per cent from 292 for the first six months.

Openwork’s complaints fell by 29 per cent during the period, from 142 claims to 101. Personal Touch received 78 complaints in the second half of 2013, down 11 per cent. The Table shows the percentage change in complaints for a selection of firms.

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Adviser group St James’s Place attracted 96 complaints, down one from 97 claims at the beginning of the year, while Chase de Vere was not mentioned, having recorded less than 30 claims, compared to 33 complaints in the first half of 2013.

Patrick Connolly, head of communications at AWD Chase de Vere, has said the vast majority of previous complaints were legacy issues that were written between seven and 10 years ago.

“As we have been working through systems, this has been continuing to fall, so in theory we shouldn’t be reappearing again on the complaints list,” he added.

Five financial services groups comprise nearly 68 per cent of new complaints, with Lloyds Banking Group topping the table with 40,500 new claims - mainly regarding PPI.

Additionally, Phoenix Life saw 407 complaints in the final six months of the year - 322 of which fell into the life and pensions and decumulation complaint category. But Phoenix was not the only life company to suffer with pension complaints. Prudential was the most complained about in the category by one complaint, with 393 complaints in general, 323 of which were for pensions. Other names of the complaint list for pensions included Aviva, Friends Life and Zurich.

Complaints surrounding investments were much lower, but Lloyds, Barclays and Santander topped the table with 184, 153 and 90 respectively.

The data covers just financial businesses where at least 30 new cases were received and at least 30 cases were resolved in the six-month period from 1 July to 31 December.

charlotte.richards@ft.com