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FOS complaints against IFAs fall as SJP moves up table

Complaints against financial advisers fell 7 per cent in the first half of the year, as St James’s Place overtook Openwork to become the second most complained about firm.

Financial Ombudsman Service data shows that in the first half of 2017, IFAs received 966 new complaints, down from 1,044 in the second half of last year.

The figures mark the second half-year fall in a row after 1,189 complaints were recorded in the first half of 2016.

Sesame retains the top spot in the ranking, with 100 complaints between 1 January and 30 June 2017, but reported slightly less than the 104 complaints it faced in the previous half.

Complaints against Sesame were as high as 172 in the first half of 2015, when the firm pulled its investment advice network.

The data does not include complaints against firms that were resolved without going to the FOS.

SJP reported 58 complaints in the second half of last year, which has now risen to 72.

The SJP group of companies chose not to publish its complaints data for the second half of 2016 on its own website because FCA rules say this must only take place if 500 complaints are received to the firm, regardless of whether they go before the FOS.

Openwork saw a fall in complaints from 70 to 61.

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Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management came in fourth place with 50 complaints.

Openwork had the highest uphold rate of the group at 47 per cent, compared to around 19 per cent for the other three firms.



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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Are these figures just absolute numbers? If so, I wonder what the table would look like if weighted alongside AUM for instance, or number of advisers in the organisation.

    Might tell the same story, but might not.

  2. So complaints against IFAs falls yet again and the tied and networks increase. Not really a surprise. As I and others have pointed out so many times in the last:

    Networks have always been guilty of poor practice. I remember well how they screamed about the increased qualification requirements for RDR. How the bid up commission rates and all other manner of poor practice.
    2. Independents are mindful that any sanction invariably comes directly out of their own pockets, unlike the networks and tied organisations who have sugar daddies with deep pockets. This should be a very strong signal to the regulator.

  3. What really shows out from the above figures is only an average of 25.75 % of these “Complaints” are in fact upheld. So if the other 74.25% were not in fact complaints for which the FOS decided were in fact untenable, this should indicate Regulation is working, however!! Why then is the FOS taking over a Year to Adjudicate on IFA complaints or allowing Firms to obfuscate the situation, furthering the clients distress.

  4. @ Robert Milligan
    “What really shows out from the above figures is only an average of 25.75 % of these “Complaints” are in fact upheld. So if the other 74.25% were not in fact complaints for which the FOS decided were in fact untenable, this should indicate Regulation is working”

    This raises a number of obversations;

    1. I don’t think ‘only’ 25% of complaints being upheld at FoS is a sign that regulation is working, it is too high, but see comments below.
    2. Complaints to FOS are only those where the client has chosen to refer the matter to FOS because the firm has either rejected their complaint, and / or the compensation offered is not acceptable. Each firm will have received a much higher number of complaints so it is the total received and total upheld that should be reviewed, not just those at FoS. The FCA collects this data through the RMAR, I wonder if they would reveal the information through an FOI request.
    3. As these cases have already gone through the firm’s own internal complaint resolution system first, the number of FoS upholds should not be high. The danger with these tables is that we don’t know how many of these cases FoS actually overturned. If the firm had upheld the complaint and the client still went to FoS who agreed with the firm and its offer of redress, it is still marked as an uphold.

  5. Of course the numbers of IFA has fallen ? and the introducers has risen – into SJP standard life and their variants ? I mean it is only statistics – Like Brexit and the effect of leaving the EU ( as Roger Bootle commented in the Telegraph )”there is no quantitative evidence”. What has happened is thee is less competition – no new products and less service for the lower classes, the working classes,the “middle”, classes and the white collar workers ( usually the wannabies).

    • No quantative evidence? Just look at Sterling and Inflation!

      • PS Roger Bootle is almost a lone voice as an economist. Nine out of 10 of the country’s top economists working across academia, the City, industry, small businesses and the public sector believe the British economy will be harmed by Brexit, according to the biggest survey of its kind ever conducted.

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