Complaints about IFAs in year-on-year decline: Fos

Complaints about IFAs in year-on-year decline: Fos

The Financial Ombudsman Service dealt with fewer complaints about IFAs in 2014/15 than in previous year, according to the body’s annual report.

Fos has revealed it was asked to handle 329,509 new complaints during the year of which only 1 per cent related to IFAs – 2,875 – the lowest number for three years.

While this is a higher proportion of total complaints than in 2013/14 – when it was 0.5 per cent – or 3,599.

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The release of the Fos annual report coincided with the organisation’s fifteenth birthday and chief ombudsman Caroline Wayman said her focus was on making sure complaints did not happen in the first place.

“The world has moved on and changed significantly since I first joined the ombudsman as an adjudicator in 2001, yet our workload over the past 15 years has been constantly dominated by the past – clearing up the fall-out of the mass claims and mis-selling scandals of the last decade and a half,” she said.

According to Ms Wayman, 15 years of sorting out millions of these problems has given Fos “unparalleled experience, knowledge and understanding of why complaints happen – and how they could be avoided in future”.

She added: “Our focus continues to be on complaints prevention and sorting things out pragmatically as soon as problems emerge.”

IFAs accounted for the smallest proportion of complaints that Fos had to deal with, with banks accounting for 73.5 per cent.

Mortgage intermediaries accounted for 2 per cent of total complaints.

Most complaints relating to IFAs were about either pensions – making up 20 per cent of total pension complaints to Fos – or investment products – 13 per cent.

During 2014/15 55 per cent of cases to Fos were resolved in the consumer’s favour.

Since 2001 it has received 2.8 million complaints, of which 1.3 million have been about payment protection insurance.

Adviser view

Ashley Clark, a financial planner with London-based, said: “This is indicative of the fact that the industry has become a profession rather than a sales job.

“RDR has been a good thing in terms of professionalising the industry, but we are still the poor relation with our contribution to Fos being disproportionate to the amount of work we create for them.”