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Only two advice firms make FCA complaints data

Only two advice firms, Sesame and Openwork, recorded enough complaints to make the FCA’s latest data on the most complained about financial services firms.

The figures from the FCA, published today, show that Sesame received 1,646 complaints between January and June, down 20 per cent from 1,978 complaints against it during the previous six months.

Sesame upheld 19 per cent of complaints in the first half of the year.

Openwork saw its number of complaints fall from 710 between July and December last year to 566, with 20 per cent of complaints upheld.

The figures relate to firms who have reported over 500 new complaints within a six month period.

The Financial Ombudsman Service publishes separate data about the complaints it receives where the initial complaint has been rejected by the business.

Personal Touch Financial Services, which had 523 complaints in the second half of last year, did not record over 500 complaints between January and June so has been omitted from the data.

Of the 1,646 complaints against Sesame, 819 related to decumulation, life and pensions complaints, 525 were about protection and general insurance, 192 related to investments and 108 were about mortgages.

Openwork had 382 protection and GI complaints, 86 investment complaints, 54 mortgage complaints and 44 decumulation, life and pensions complaints.

Overall Barclays was the most complained about financial services firm, with 370,733 new complaints and an uphold rate of 62 per cent. 

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Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Is this as a result of those working under such umbrellas being somewhat more cavalier as they feel that they are protected and bailed out by their sponsors?

    Are the sponsors perhaps not fastidious enough in selecting those they take on, preferring instead to play a numbers game?

    I make no accusations. I just ask.

  2. Do small IFAs act in a more cavalier way with their clients knowing they are less visible to the regulator and won’t be identified in these kind of stats?

    Do they have less regard to business principles and simply milk clients for what they can as they only have themselves to look after?

    I make no accusations. I just ask.

  3. The stats aren’t very meaningful unless you record them based on numbers of advisers. Even then It may well be there is just ONE adviser getting loads of complaints at a firm with 100 advisers.
    My statistics would be 15 years an IFA with stats to go with it of 0 complaints to FOS and 1 which we rejected based on the fact the solicitors letter of claim and statements made did not match the MP3 wav.doc recordings of the meetings with the former client.
    The stats however would then not show that the good old FSCS decided to have a bite at my firms cherry over the Keydata collapse.

  4. @Grey area

    On this occasion I think you could be a little off beam. A complaint always brings you to the attention of the Regulator – whether just one or multiples. If you believe otherwise you are living very dangerously. If you don’t apply the first rule of compliance (CYA) at all times you are living dangerously. OK if you have unimaginative advisers (read ‘thick’) or those who are gamblers you may have a point – but I rather think that the small directly regulated independents generally have more sense than that – as the complaints stats seem to verify.

  5. @ Harry

    I take your point but one or two complaints from a small IFA is not going to register much of a blip on the FCA radar unless it involves lots of money or part of a wider issue.
    I also think you’re a little to quick to point fingers. Those working under umbrellas often give indemnities which mean they share equally in the pain. A recent court case also confirmed that they are personally liable too. Your point on sponsors is perhaps better made.

  6. @Grey area

    Yes I guess I’m guilty. But I have to own up I have always been very dubious of umbrellas having direct acquaintance with several who are under them. I find them to be the easy (or lazy) option.

    I am also guilty of appearing to make the assumption that all small directly regulated IFAs are as pure as the driven snow. I realise that there are bad apples in this barrel, just as there are good ones under umbrellas. But on average I can’t help being biased in believing that the majority of the former are more worthy than the majority of the latter for a whole host of reasons which I think perhaps it would be prudent not to list for fear of raising too many blood pressures.

    Suffice it to say that it appeared to me that the umbrellas were more vehemently against the RDR than other sections of the adviser community. (Maybe I got the wrong impression!)

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