The total number of complaints about misleading advice have increased 19 per cent in the six months to the end of June this year while those levelled against IFAs have fallen slightly.
FSA data for the first half of this year show firms received 207,967 complaints about poor advice, up from 174,916 in the second half of 2008.
Complaints against banks increased by 1 per cent from one million to 1.01 million while complaints against advisers fell fractionally from 17,173 to 17,160.
The level of complaints overall increased by 2 per cent, from 1.48 million to 1.51 million.
Arrears-handling grievances leapt 41 per cent from 27,697 in the second half of 2008 to 39,181 in the first half of this year. The proportion of those upheld fell slightly from 40 per cent to 38 per cent.
The regulator claims this is largely attributable to a fall in the number of complaints upheld by banks.
Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey considers that consumers’ increased awareness of bad bank practices is leading to a rise in complaints.
He says: “In the last year, we have seen a massive increase in publicity about bad advice from the banks. As banks become far more aggressive in selling products and achieving sales targets, they are less concerned with the quality of advice they are giving so it is no surprise that advice complaints are rising.”