FOS upholds half of pension advice complaints

Cash-Wallet-Consumer-Retail-Shopping-700x450.jpgThe Financial Ombudsman Service upheld 51 per cent of complaints relating to pension advice given by advisers and 43 per cent of complaints about investment advice, according to its 2015/16 annual review.

The FOS upheld 26 per cent of complaints relating to banking and credit advice from advisers.

Advisers were one of the least complained about sectors with only 1 per cent of complaints; a contrast to banks which received 72 per cent of complaints.

Advisers attracted 10 per cent of complaints to the FOS about investment products and 17 per cent of complaints about pensions.

On pension freedoms, the annual review said that between 6 April 2015 and 6 May 2016, around 10 per cent of pension complaints involve pension freedoms amounting to around 475 complaints of which 365 have been resolved.

Pension freedoms complaints related to issues including administration errors, people wanting to transfer their existing annuity to a lump sum, exit fees and delays.

There were also complaints relating to pension freedoms advice including issues such as higher income tax payable than expected and refusal to provide financial advice.

Overall, the FOS received 4,495 complaints about pensions which was a 5 per cent increase on the previous year. New complaints about personal pension plans increased by 23 percent, however the FOS said annuity complaints were stable.

Overall, the FOS resolved 438,802 complaints in 2015/16 with half upheld in the consumer’s favour.

Payment protection insurance remained the most complained about financial product and the FOS says it receives 4,000 new PPI cases each week.

Chief ombudsman Caroline Wayman says: “It’s been another year of big numbers and big changes for everyone. But we mustn’t lose sight of the lives and livelihoods behind every complaint we resolve. That’s why preventing mistakes of the past from happening again will help restore trust and fairness in financial services.”

The FOS’s total operating costs for the year ended 31 March 2016 were £257.9m which was higher than the 2015 figure of £239.8m but lower than the estimated 2016 budget of £270.3m.