Financial Ombudsman Service  

Insurer receives hundreds of Fos complaints after adviser struggles

Insurer receives hundreds of Fos complaints after adviser struggles

Life and pensions consolidator ReAssure has been the subject of hundreds of complaints at the Financial Ombudsman Service (Fos) in the second half of last year, after advisers bemoaned increasingly poor levels of service at the company.

Complaints data published by the ombudsman today (March 3) showed the consolidator was the subject of 341 new cases. Two-thirds of these (224) related to decumulation life and pensions.

It comes after advisers claimed last year that the consolidator was providing increasingly poor levels of service as it was “ill-equipped” and “under-resourced” to deal with its growing administration book.

Their gripes included blunders that left clients without income, a lack of urgency to deal with issues and lengthy waiting times that caused “absolute mayhem”.

ReAssure takes on blocks of policies from companies looking to exit from closed books of business.

The consolidator has taken on policies from companies including Barclays, HSBC, Guardian and Legal & General.

Advisers said it was primarily legacy Legal and General policies – initially sold to Swiss Re in 2017 and then to Phoenix, ReAssure’s parent company, in July this year – that it struggled to manage properly.

The main cause of complaints were related to general admin or customer service.

Meanwhile Sesame also appeared in the Fos’ business complaints data.

The firm received 99 new complaints against it in the second half of last year, up from 82 in the previous half. The majority of complaints related to mortgages and home finance (35) and decumulation life and pensions (33).

St James's Place too appeared on the list with 149 new cases, 85 of which were investment related and 43 were about life and pensions.

Outside of the advice landscape household name Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management received the highest number of complaints (225) relating to investments.

The figure represents 10 per cent of the total number of investment-related complaints (2,208) the Fos received in the second half of last year.

The Fos only publishes names of individual financial businesses where it received at least 30 new cases and resolved at least 30 cases in each six-month period.

chloe.cheung@ft.com

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