Financial Ombudsman Service  

Fos upholds smaller proportion of Sipp complaints

Fos upholds smaller proportion of Sipp complaints

The rate at which the financial ombudsman rules in favour of consumers with a self-invested personal pension complaint has stalled in recent months, as the industry braces itself for a rise in cases of this nature. 

In data published today (February 12) the Financial Ombudsman Service reported 49 per cent of Sipp cases were upheld in the months between October and December last year. 

This compared with a rate of 56 per cent in July to September and 62 per cent in April to June last year, with the likelihood an ombudsman would uphold a Sipp case dropping by 13 percentage points in the nine months. 

Whilst it is not unusual for quarterly data to fluctuate, especially in areas where a high proportion of complaints are represented by claims management companies, the downward trend comes at a time when the industry is preparing itself for a barrage of Sipp complaints. 

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has pointed to rising Sipp claims as the cause for increasing costs at its service this year and has already seen a number of troubled providers fall in its remit in the first months of this year. 

Meanwhile, uphold rates for occupational pension transfers, which include defined benefit transfers, also dropped in the same period, down from 35 per cent in April to June to 29 per cent between October and December last year. 

Whilst the number of enquires received by the Fos in relation to Sipp claims dropped in the third quarter of the financial year - from 901 in April to June to 697 between October and December - new cases at the service ticked up to 653, up from 597. 

Enquires received by the service concerning occupational transfers also dropped in the quarter, by 35 per cent to 135, whilst new cases taken on rose by 35 per cent from 157 to 213. 

An enquiry becomes a new case once it has been validated by the Fos. 

The hike in Sipp complaints is expected to continue as misadvised clients continued to pursue cases with the help of CMCs which are particularly active in the area. 

In the Fos' most recent annual report Sipps topped the list of the most complained about products against IFAs.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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