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Firms blame legacy business for poor complaint records


Towry, Norwich & Peterborough Building Society and AWD Chase de Vere are blaming their poor complaint records on legacy business.

Data published by the Financial Ombudsman Service this week reveals that between January 1 and June 30, Towry and N&P each had 92 per cent of complaints upheld.

The average uphold rate for all financial services firms was 47 per cent.

N&P had 394 new complaints, of which 351 related to investment advice, while Towry had 140 new complaints, with 138 concerning investment administration.

In April, the FSA fined N&P £1.4m for giving unsuitable investment advice about Key-data products.

An N&P spokesman says: “Almost 90 per cent of our complaints were related to the Keydata issue. If these are taken out of the equation, the percentage of complaints upheld is around 25 per cent.”

Between July and December 2010, Towry had 97 per cent of complaints upheld. A spokeswoman says the complaints reflect Towry’s acquisition of Edward Jones in 2009.

She says: “Following the acquisition, a number of clients wished to transfer their assets to alternative advisers in-specie. The vast majority of these complaints relate to the extended transfer period.”

AWD Chase de Vere had 61 new complaints and 70 per cent were upheld while Aegon-owned Positive Solutions had 41 new complaints and 63 per cent were upheld. Sesame had 76 new complaints and had 56 per cent upheld and Openwork had 57 new complaints and 43 per cent were upheld.

AWD head of communications Patrick Connolly (pictured) says: “The vast majority of complaints we get are legacy issues relating to investments several years ago.”


Sesame says the number of new complaints represents a “very small” proportion of business written.

Positive Solutions and Openwork were unavailable for comment.


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There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Patrick. You were touting the same tune when you were at TL.. 92%/ 70% upheld complaints still seems to suggest somebody has not done their job correctly.

    Can’t understand why AF has had to leave his pathetic excuse to an “unnamed female spokesman”!

    At least we did not get the statement “We take every complaint seriously….blah,blah, blah” as the facts seems to suggest that this is indeed not the case.

    Rant over

  2. Nobody in the industry ever wants to receive complaints but it’s how a firm deals with complaints that matters and whether a swift and fair conclusion is achieved.

    When you compare these figures to the Banks and Building Societies level of complaints they are remarkably low.

    Surely it would be more informative to show complaints received as a percentage to new business written to show its relevance to the size of firm

  3. As Mandy Rice-Davies (for the more mature reader) nearly said:

    “Well that’s what they would say, isn’t it?”

  4. “The vast majority of complaints we get are legacy issues relating to investments several years ago.”

    Really? What a surprise!!

  5. Peter. What is your definition of a complaint and is every complaint in IFAdom treated as such.

    In bankdom every “expression of dissatifsaction” whether written or verbal is treated and recorded as a complaint and is then dealt with accordingly.

    It would need a breakdown to evaluate service, advice, and every other to make a clear comparison.

    The above article relates to complaints dealt with by FOS so involves the more serious ones rather than “I stubbed my toe on your doorstep”!

  6. In ‘bankdom’? Your experience of how banks deal with an “expression of dissatisfaction” must be quite narrow.

  7. On the one hand a client who has known and trusted you for years, come to you with every financial need they have, who you have looked after and managed to guide through the maze that is life and finances to achieve a happy and contented adviser/client partnership


    On the other hand – someone you don’t know, who is no more than a name, an account or investment balance, someone you have “picked up” by cleverly trying to finagle a book of business away from someone else who means nothing more to you than “trail commission for no service or a hit for a one off sale of an inappropriate product.

    I wonder who will make the complaint!!! You cant buy or own trust and respect you can only earn it and work hard to keep it. succesfullacheived who’s

  8. portrays a rather fuller picture of TL’s handling of the legacy book it acquired from EJ for just £1 in return for £6m yearly trail commission.

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