Regulation  

Sesame upheld highest proportion of complaints in 2015: FCA

Sesame upheld highest proportion of complaints in 2015: FCA

Sesame was the financial advice company with the highest proportion of upheld complaints, according to data released by the Financial Conduct Authority on 30 March.

During the second half of 2015, there were 829 complaints made against the company, with most of these relating to decumulation, life and pensions.

Of the complaints that were closed during the last six months of last year, 30 per cent were upheld.

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By volume of complaints against the company, the numers are an improvement on the previous six months, when it received 967 new complaints, but fewer of these – 23 per cent – were upheld.

Last July, Sesame closed its investment advice network, which would have handled the pension advice linked to the complaints, after a series of high-profile problems, including a network-wide review of the pension reccommendations review, Project Minerva.

For the Sesame Bankhall Group, the focus is now on Bankhall, its support services arm for directly authorised firms, and its mortgage advice business, which only generated 59 complaints – just 7 per cent of the company’s total – in the second half of 2015.

Investment broker and adviser Hargreaves Lansdown received 555 new complaints, mainly about investments, and 23 per cent of its closed complaints were upheld.

Of the providers, Bank of Scotland received the most complaints about mortgages and equity release at 11,606, while Prudential received the most decumulation, life and pension complaints at 8,063.

The most investment complaints were received by HSBC, which had 3,007 in the second half of 2015.

FCA data revealed that overall complaints decreased in the second half of last year, particularly in decumulation, life and pensions, which saw a fall of nearly 20 per cent from 66,602 to 53,682.

There was a decrease of 1.4 per cent in the total number of complaints compared to the previous six months, partly driven by a 10 per cent drop in complaints about current accounts and a 15 per cent drop in complaints about savings accounts.

Christopher Woolard, director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said: “It is positive to see that the longer term reduction in the volume of complaints has continued into the latest period.

“Firms seem to have taken on board our previous feedback on levels of complaints and we are slowly seeing firms address these issues.

“However, firms still need to do all they can to reduce complaints and ensure that they are working in the best interests of consumers.”

Meanwhile, payment protection insurance was the most complained-about product with 883,043 complaints – down 16.6 per cent compared to the previous six months.