The Financial Ombudsman Service paid almost £4m in exit packages to staff leaving the organisation in the last financial year, with more than £3m spent on redundancy payouts.
The ombudsman made 128 staff cuts in the 2019/20 financial year, some of which were part of a wider redundancy programme, according to its latest annual report and accounts published yesterday (November 5).
The service had already made 116 redundancies the previous year.
In its most recent financial year the ombudsman paid £3,138,292 in redundancy packages, with 51 payouts of between £25,001 and £50,000.
The highest payout was made to David Cresswell, former strategy director at the ombudsman, who left the service in April 2019 with a redundancy payment of £137,202.
A further 62 financial packages were paid to staff leaving the service last year, totalling £814,797.
The ombudsman, of which 70 per cent is funded by case fees and 30 per cent through an industry levy, spent £276.4m in the year - coming in at £55.1m below budget.
In the coming year the financial ombudsman predicted it would receive 245,000 complaints and resolve 305,000, with some workload carried over from previous years.
The service has been preparing for a turndown in consumer demand following the passing of the deadline for payment protection insurance complaints, but it said workload had also been shaped by unforeseen events such as IT outages in major banks and "continued volatility" in complaints about short‑term lending.
Pension and investment complaints
The ombudsman has witnessed a growing trend in self‑invested personal pension complaints, as clients continue to pursue cases with the help of CMCs which are particularly active in the area.
In its latest annual report the service said it had received slightly fewer Sipp complaints than expected but nonetheless the number had risen, including disputes over due diligence.
The ombudsman said: "Reflecting the broad trend toward complexity that we see across our casework, many of these complaints were hard‑fought, some subject to ongoing legal action, and in some cases involved firms going into liquidation – factors which created challenges around reaching a quick resolution.
"Following a number of high‑profile examples of trouble with investment platforms, we continued to hear from people who’d had problems accessing and managing their investments – in some cases affecting their income payments or pension withdrawals."
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