FOS complaints down 41% year-on-year

The number of complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service has fallen by 41 per cent year-on-year, as the drop off in payment protection insurance complaints accelerates.

Figures from the FOS, published today, show the ombudsman received 107,267 new complaints between October and December 2013. This is 41 per cent lower than the 180,679 complaints received over the same period in 2012.

Between October and December, the FOS received 79,578 complaints relating to PPI, which is down by 31 per cent compared to the 115,247 complaints it received in the previous quarter. It is also down by 45 per cent compared to the 145,546 PPI complaints received over the same period in 2012.

The number of PPI complaints has been falling at a growing rate over the past year.

The FOS figures show pension complaints rose significantly, with the number relating to self-invested personal pensions more than doubling in the past quarter.

Sipp complaints rose by 123 per cent between Q3 and Q4, from 176 to 393. Of those, 56 per cent were upheld. Sipp complaints have also risen by 166 per cent on a year-on-year basis, up from 148 in Q4 2012.

Complaints relating to state earnings-related pensions increased by 46 per cent year-on-year, from 89 in Q4 2012 to 130. Just 2 per cent of complaints were upheld, however. On a quarterly basis Serps complaints were up by 13 per cent from 115.

Annuities complaints were down at 111 in Q4 2013, compared to 148 in Q4 2012 – a fall of 25 per cent. Of these, 32 per cent were upheld. On a quarterly basis, complaints declined by 11 per cent, from 130.

Investment-related complaints are down year-on-year, with portfolio management complaints falling by 26 per cent between Q4 2012 and Q4 2013, from 413 to 305. Of those, 56 per cent were upheld.

Portfolio management complaints rose on a quarterly basis however, by 12 per cent from 272 in Q3 to 305 in Q4.

Complaints relating to unit-linked investment bonds fell by 19 per cent year-on-year, from 218 to 176, 42 per cent of which were upheld. On a quarterly basis, complaints were down by 13 per cent, from 202 in Q3.

Complaints relating to protection were also down year-on-year.

Term assurance complaints fell by 31 per cent, from 1,005 in Q4 2012 to 694 in Q4 2013 – 32 per cent of which were upheld. On a quarterly basis complaints are down by 11 per cent, from 784.

Income protection complaints are down by 18 per cent, from 411 in Q4 2012 to 337 in Q4 2013 – 28 per cent of which were upheld.

And complaints relating to critical illness are down by 49 per cent year-on-year, from 426 to 218 – 26 per cent of which were upheld. On a quarterly basis complaints fell by 24 per cent, from 285.

Complaints relating to mortgages have risen by 6 per cent year-on-year, from 3,042 in Q4 2012 to 3,223 in Q4 2013. Complaints are up by 4 per cent on a quarterly basis, from 3,090.

FOS deputy chief executive Tony Boorman says: “We have spent the last couple of years scaling up our operation and developing our service to deal with unprecedented volumes of PPI cases. That work is now paying off.

“But although we expect the volume of PPI complaints to decline, the numbers are still likely to be substantial. We predict that we’ll start the new financial year with around 400,000 PPI cases already on our books.”

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