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Barclays tops FCA complaints data as Hargreaves complaints jump 500%

Barclays was the most complained about financial services firm in the second half of 2013, with Hargreaves Lansdown seeing a 500 per cent increase in complaints following the Royal Mail share sale.

The FCA published data last week on financial services complaints between July and December. 

Barclays had 309,494 complaints over the period and an uphold rate of 66 per cent.

The number of complaints is down by 25 per cent compared with the second half of 2012, when it received 414,302 complaints and upheld 54 per cent.

Barclays retail and business banking chief executive Ashok Vaswani says: “To see our complaint figures fall is encouraging but we recognise we still have a way to go.”

Lloyds Bank received the second highest number of complaints at 256,656, with an uphold rate of 80 per cent, and down by 27 per cent year-on-year.

MBNA received the third highest number of complaints at 213,311 followed by Bank of Scotland with 181,353 complaints and NatWest with 175,731.

Hargreaves Lansdown received the most investment-related complaints. The company saw a 500 per cent increase in complaints in the latter half of 2013, with 3,173 complaints. Only 4 per cent of the complaints were upheld.

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This is up from 527 complaints in the previous six months. It did not feature in the FCA’s data for the second half of 2012 as it received less than the 500 complaints minimum.

The firm says around 85 per cent of complaints concerned the Royal Mail share sale in October, including technical problems with trading and people complaining they could not buy as many of the shares as they wanted. When these are stripped out, the level of complaints in the second half of the year were broadly in line with those in the first half.

In total, there were 2.5 million complaints against financial services firms between July and December, down by 27 per cent compared with the 3.4 million complaints received in the second half of 2012.

Payment protection insurance continued to be the most complained about product, accounting for 1.4 million complaints.

Prudential received the highest number of complaints relating to life and pension products at 6,391, with an uphold rate of 21 per cent.

Bank of Scotland received the highest number of mortgage and equity release complaints at 15,075, with 71 per cent upheld.

Adviser network Sesame was the only advice firm to be included in the data.

The firm received 1,356 complaints over the period, with 22 per cent upheld.

The Financial Ombudsman Service publishes separate data about the complaints it receives where the initial complaint has been rejected by the business.

Adviser view: Philip Milton

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Philip Milton is managing director at Philip J Milton & Company

I am not convinced that this data is helpful as it is negative for the industry and can create a misleading impression as larger companies receive more complaints.

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