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FOS reveals most complained about advice firms

Sesame was the subject of more Financial Ombudsman Service complaints than any other advice firm in the first half of the year.

The FOS has today published a breakdown of the complaints it received in the first half of 2014.

It received 197 complaints about Sesame, down by 33 per cent year-on-year. Some 26 per cent of complaints against the firm were upheld.

St James’ Place was the second most complained about advice firm, receiving 77 complaints between January and June, of which 42 per cent were upheld. The number of complaints against the firm is down by 21 per cent year-on-year.

Openwork was the third most complained about adviser business, with 73 complaints, 21 per cent of which were upheld. The number of complaints is down by 49 per cent year-on-year.

The FOS received 55 complaints about Personal Touch Financial Services, down from 88 a year ago, and of which 29 per cent were upheld.

Finally, the FOS received 48 complaints against Hargreaves Lansdown during the six-month period, of which just 17 per cent were upheld.

There is no comparative figure for Hargreaves Lansdown for the first half of 2013, as the FOS only publishes data were it has resolved at least 30 complaints over a six-month period.

The data also shows that Prudential topped the list of most complained about life and pensions firms.

The provider received 330 complaints in the first half of the year, up from 309 in the first half of 2013, although only 17 per cent of complaints were upheld.

It is followed by Phoenix Life with 327 complaints, down from 364 a year ago. The FOS upheld 23 per cent of complaints against the firm.

For investment complaints, Lloyds TSB topped the list with 139 complaints, down 47 per cent year-on-year. The FOS upheld 30 per cent of complaints against the firm.

Barclays was the second most complained about investment firm, with 138 complaints lodged against it in the period, 57 per cent of which were upheld. The number of complaints is down by 40 per cent year-on-year.

Bank of Scotland received the highest number of mortgage complaints in the first half of the year at 1,062 complaints. This is up by 15 per cent year-on-year, and the bank had an uphold rate of 38 per cent.

Complaints against Legal & General Partnership Services rocketed between the first half of 2013 and the first half of 2014, from 52 to 447, making it the fourth most complained against firm for mortgages.

However, only 11 per cent of complaints lodged against it were upheld in the first half of the year.


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

  1. The figures would make more sense if you put the size of the organisation on. The bigger the organisation the more complaints I would expect to see. Do you have such figures?

  2. If we would have had a sweepstake on this I’m willing to bet that the majority would have guessed correctly. No real surprises – all very much as expected. Ask yourselves why.

  3. It is important to look at complaints upheld. Most of these firms have seen around 2/3rds of the complaints against them rejected. Barclays is way out of line.

  4. E L Wisty (an only twin) 2nd September 2014 at 10:02 am

    RDR was intended to change corporate culture and remove conflicts with clients, by improving standards and dovetailing client/adviser interests.

    These lists are helpful, to an extent, in that they identify the big offenders. Therefore, the FCA should treat this as valuable intelligence in order to identify whether the failings are individual (ie, due to mismanagement) or institutional (ie, trying to get around RDR). If the former, actions can be taken to achieve improvement. If the latter, enforcement should follow.

    We all know that there are sophisticated bond-flogging firms out there, who are little more than old Allied Crowbar salesmen with ‘professional’ titles. Until the FCA acknowledges these, and operates to remove the cancer, nothing will improve.

  5. meaningless data. Are all of the complaints made to Sesame connected to one firm or a number of firms.
    To address the “ask yourself why” point raised by Harry Katz we would need to see figures at the individual level or at least at the firm level. My guess is that there would not be as much difference between network members and proper IFAs

  6. When you look at the data for advice firms its remarkable how low the number of complaints are and, of those, how few are upheld. I’m looking forward to the regulatory dividend promised all those years ago by Hector. The FCA should announce some good news for once ‘Congratulations – Advice Firms are doing a great job’.

  7. Given the bad publicity in the press around Financial Ltd, I was interested to read, or rather not read, anything on Financial Ltd in the FOS reports. Was this a load of hot air against Financial Ltd, or legacy stuff from years ago?

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