Ombudsman: SME complaints due to misunderstandings

Ombudsman: SME complaints due to misunderstandings

Small businesses without proper financial advice often end up confused about the services they are given by product providers, Fos has warned.

In the latest edition of Ombudsman News, Caroline Wayman, the chief ombudsman, said recent research by Fos found two-thirds of businesses who used the service were made up of just one or two people.

Ms Wayman said: “Unfortunately – for everyone involved – it seems some businesspeople felt let down by the support they had received from a financial provider.

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“Rather than something going technically wrong, we often found there had been a simple – but crucial – misunderstanding about what support was actually ever available.”

While she said it was often “commonsense” that the providers needed to show when dealing with small firms, it also highlighted the need for smaller firms to seek advice on financial matters from professionals to help prevent difficulties and disappointment later on.

According to Fos data, complaints from smaller businesses were overwhelmingly about banks, accounting for 70 per cent of all those received.

The next largest complaint issue across FOS was for insurance (excluding PPI), standing at 17 per cent in 2014/15.

Adviser view

Trystan Lewis, an adviser with Cheshire-based Griffin Wealth Management, said: “Many small clients have had varying experiences of dealing with banks and, in certain circumstances, the personal relationships with people in the banks are just not there anymore.”