There has been a spike in Financial Ombudsman Service complaints about high-risk investments such as unregulated collective investment schemes and film partnerships over the past year.
The ombudsman’s annual review for 2013/14, published this week, shows it received 15,938 complaints about investments and pensions, accounting for 3 per cent of all complaints. The FOS received 19,834
investment and pension complaints in the previous year, representing 4 per cent of all complaints.
There was a 49 per cent rise in Sipp complaints from 697 to 1,039, with 63 per cent of complaints upheld. The FOS says the majority of cases relate to advice to invest in Ucis.
The ombudsman says some consumers are being advised to move their retirement savings into Sipps that invest in unregulated investments such as overseas property and forestry on the promise of tax breaks and good returns. Consumers find out later that they have no access to the invested funds.
The review also reveals that the number of complaints about film partnerships jumped by 139 per cent year-on-year, from 84 to 201.
The FOS says: “When markets are relatively buoyant, we tend to receive fewer complaints about conventional investments. However, we saw significantly more complaints involving Ucis and similar higher-risk investments.”