The FSA today published the first of regular sets of data covering complaint numbers to regulated firms.
The data showed a sharp fall in complaints against advisers and an increase in complaints against banks.
ABI director of consumer strategy Maggie Craig says while it is important to provide consumers with meaningful information to help them make financial choices, it must be presented in context.
She says: “It is important that any published data is clear, fair and not misleading. The FSA’s aggregate data does not reflect the fact that there are 160 million general insurance and 82 million life insurance policies in force. Overall, that’s just one complaint for every 1,200 policies during the second half of 2008.
“However, the insurance industry acknowledges that more work needs to be done to improve performance, and the ABI is leading the way on initiatives to achieve this.”
Craig adds that company-specific data, to be published by the Financial Ombudsman Service and the FSA later this year, will not be valuable to consumers.
She says: “The current format to be used by the FOS, and later the FSA, for publishing company-specific data will not help consumers because it doesn’t allow them to compare the performance of different companies for specific products, such as motor or home insurance, on a like for like basis.
“Without this level of detail, the published data will be of no real help to consumers and, without the right context, we remain very concerned that it might even be misleading.”