Advice complaints plummet in second half of 2015


Complaints against advice firms plummeted in the second half of 2015, the latest Financial Ombudsman Service data reveals.

The FOS recorded 4,136 complaints about life and pensions advice between 1 July and 31 December 2015, down 12 per cent from 4,680 in the first half of the year.

Similarly, investment advice complaints fell 22 per cent, from a total of 3,719 in the first half to 2,898 in the second half.

A FOS spokesman says the drop in complaints can be attributed to the “relative stability” of financial markets during the period.

Sesame was the most complained about advice firm during the period, receiving 116 new complaints, down 33 per cent from 172 in the first six months of 2015.

Some 27 per cent of complaints against Sesame were resolved in favour of the consumer.

Openwork was next on the advice list with 79 new complaints, down 29 per cent from 111 in the first half of the year. The uphold rate against Openwork was 19 per cent.

Interactive Investor, the online platform, was subject to 63 complaints, down 17 per cent from 76 in the first six months. However, the uphold rate was 71 per cent – far higher than the average among other financial services firms.

St James’s Place was hit with 61 complaints during the first half of the year, down 13 per cent from 70 complaints in the six months prior. Just over a quarter of resolved complaints against SJP were upheld during the period.

Prudential was the most complained about pension provider in the second half of 2015, followed by Phoenix, Aviva, Royal London and Friends Life.

The list of investment complaints, meanwhile, is dominated by banks, with Lloyds, Barclays, Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Natwest making up the top five.

In total the Ombudsman received 164,347 complaints in the final six months of 2015, down 6 per cent on the previous period.

Excluding PPI complaints, the total figure was 71,663 – down 10 per cent.

The average uphold rate was 53 per cent, ranging from 5 per cent to 97 per cent across individual businesses.

Bank of Scotland was the subject of the most individual complaints (22,089), followed by Lloyds (21,304) and Barclays (17,781).