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FOS reveals most complained about adviser firms

Sesame was the subject of more Financial Ombudsman Service complaints than any other advice firm during the second half of 2013, with around a quarter of complaints upheld against the firm.

The FOS has today published a breakdown of the complaints it received between 1 July and 31 December last year.

The FOS received 213 complaints about Sesame, down from the 263 complaints reported in the second half of 2012. Some 26 per cent of cases brought against the firm were resolved in favour of the consumer during the final six months of 2013. The network, which is owned by Friends Life, was put up for sale in February last year.

Openwork was the next most complained about adviser business, with 101 complaints lodged against the firm in the second half of 2013. This figure has dropped from 132 complaints in the same period during 2012, with 27 per cent of cases against Openwork upheld during the second half of 2013.

St James’ Place was the third most complained about advice firm with 96 complaints, up from the 89 complaints against the firm received by the FOS in the last six months of 2012. Some 40 per cent of cases against SJP were resolved in favour of the consumer.

The FOS received 78 complaints about Personal Touch Financial Services, up from 68 in 2012, with only 13 per cent of cases resolved in favour of the consumer.

Finally, Positive Solutions, which has been bought by Intrinsic, was complained about 49 times during the final six months of 2013 compared with 77 complaints in 2012. Some 54 per cent of complaints against the firm during the period were upheld.

The FOS only publishes data where it has received at least 30 new complaints and resolved at least 30 complaints over a six month period.


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There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. During the 1998-99 eason when Manchester United won the Champions League, I played for a team that conceded far fewer goals than they did.

    Clearly, then, we were a much better team. That trophy, by rights, should have been ours.

    The fact that they played more than ten times as many matches as us is, by the logic of this article (and FOS) irrelevant.

    I shall change my letterhead to say “Rightful Champions League Winner 1999”.

  2. Fair point Champions League winner.

    I would say one useful metric here is how few complaints any of them have in absolute numbers as compared to the volume of advice given. Whilst any complaint needing referring to the Ombudsman is a failure, these numbers from these giants of the advising world are really quite minimal.

    The one thing that does stand out among them is rate of upheld complaints, as it varies from 13% to 54%, which surely says something about the quality of the internal investigative function. I’m not 100% sure what, but it definitely says something….

  3. @ John Stirling

    I agree.

    It could be poor complaint handling by the firm with the higher uphold ratio.

    On the other hand, the network with the lower uphold rate might be rolling over before it gets to FOS when it should not. After all, in most cases it will get its member to pay the excess and PI to pay the rest.

    Or FOS is upholding complaints that it should not. Of course that could not possibly happen with an organisation where no qualifications are requiired to be an adjudicator or ombudsman but just suppose.

    Probably a combination of all three.

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