Ombudsman upholds four out of 10 complaints against IFAs

Ombudsman upholds four out of 10 complaints against IFAs

Complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service were up during 2015 to 2016, but advisers still only account for one in 100 cases.

According to its latest annual review, published today (26 May), during the year there were a total of 340,899 new complaints made to Fos, compared with 329,509 in 2014 to 2015.

Advisers continued to account for just 1 per cent of total complaints made to Fos last year.

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IFAs accounted for 2 per cent of mortgage complaints (the ombudsman’s smallest category), however mortgage intermediaries account for 20 per cent.

One in 10 investment complaints involve IFAs and 17 per cent of pension complaints involved independent advisers.

Fos upheld four out of 10 complaints made against IFAs last year.

A total of 51 per cent of pension complaints made against IFAs were upheld, along with 43 per cent of investment complaints against IFAs and 26 per cent of banking and credit complaints against IFAs.

PPI remained the most complained-about financial product, with Fos still receiving up to 4,000 such cases each week - a total of 188,712 or just over half over the service’s total workload.

However, this is diminishing both in number and in the proportion of total complaints it makes up - down from 204,943 overall complaints in 2014 to 2015 - when it made up 63 per cent of the total received.

Towards the end of last year, the Financial Conduct Authority consulted on the introduction of a deadline for PPI complaints.

Payday loan complaints have tripled and packaged bank account complaints more than doubled to 44,244.

Chief ombudsman Caroline Wayman said while it has been another year of big numbers and big changes for everyone, “we mustn’t lose sight of the lives and livelihoods behind every complaint we resolve”.

Fos stated 51 per cent of the cases resolved in 2015 to 2016 were in the consumer’s favour.

Complaints about personal pension plans were up by almost a quarter, but annuity complaints were stable.

Specialist insurance complaints rose - with pet insurance and home emergency cover both increasing by more than a third - and warranty complaints increasing by a fifth.

In terms of the actual firms, four of the UK’s largest banking groups accounted for 56 per cent of all complaints received by Fos.

Adviser view

Clive Balchin, a financial adviser with Lancashire-based James Trickett & Sons, said: “I am staggered that only one per cent of complaints came from financial advisers.

“It is galling to have to pay so much towards the regulators.”