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Over half a million complaints settled in record year for FoS

Payment protection insurance made up 78 per cent of cases. The number of complaints rose six per cent to 399,939.

Almost a quarter of enquiries were about general financial problems. One in six people had a problem with a financial product or service. Four of the UK’s largest banking groups accounted for 63 per cent of complaints.

Chief ombudsman Tony Boorman said: “People are simply looking for honest, straightforward answers that show someone has listened and helped make sense of things.”

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Adviser view

David Smith, wealth management director at Newcastle-based Bestinvest, said: “Financial advice is not getting worse, but public awareness has increased. The internet has propagated this: it is so easy to raise an issue or make a complaint online and there is so much more information available.”

Key figures

· 58 per cent of the cases resolved were found in the consumer’s favour.

· Almost a quarter of the enquiries received were about general financial problems and concerns and were not product-specific.

· One in six people across the UK said they’d had a problem with a financial product or service.

· Around one in five initial enquiries turned into a formal dispute – a record 512,167 new complaints.

· Four of the UK’s largest banking groups accounted for 63 per cent of all complaints received.

· Other than PPI, seven out of ten (71 per cent) complaints were resolved within six months.

· People from Widnes were the most likely to phone FoS; consumers from the North East were most likely to complain about PPI.

· 77 per cent of people surveyed said they were aware of the FoS and 70 per cent said they trusted the organisation.