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FOS complaints against advisers fall 12%

FOS chief executive Caroline Wayman
FOS chief executive Caroline Wayman

Financial Ombudsman Service complaints against advisers fell 12 per cent between the first and second half of 2016.

IFAs were hit with 1,189 complaints between January and June last year, which dropped to 1,044 between July and December, out of a total of almost 150,000 new cases at the FOS.

Sesame continued to top the list of firms with the most complaints despite a 35 per cent fall over the period. The network faced 104 complaints between July and December, compared to 160 between January and June.

Openwork reported 70 complaints in the second half of 2016, down from 80 in the first half, while St James’s Place reported 58 complaints.

SJP had the highest complaint uphold rate of the trio at 33 per cent compared to 20 per cent for Openwork and 23 per cent for Sesame.

On average, the FOS upheld 42 per cent of complaints in favour of the consumer in the second half of 2016.

The trio were the only three advice firms to report more than 30 new complaints and 30 closed ones, causing them to show up in the FOS’s numbers.

The number of complaints against advisers has been falling over the last few years.

A Freedom of Information Act request from Money Marketing shows that in the 2013/14 financial year, 3,573 advice firms received complaints at the FOS. This fell to 2,889 in 2014/15, before falling again to 2,507 in 2015/16.

Pension complaints appear to have fallen by over a quarter, but the FOS explains that this was because of a change in the way it categorises complaints about endowments.

FOS says: “Investment complaints have increased by over a third from the first half to the second half of 2016, and pension complaints have decreased by over a quarter. This is largely because complaints about endowment products have been moved into the investment product group from the ‘life, pensions and decumulation’ group, following a change the FCA made to the way in which it publishes complaints data.”


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  1. very odd, seeing as though SJP insist they have so many satisfied customers.

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