Sesame tops FCA advice complaints list as pension problems ease

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Pension complaints fell in the second half of 2015, according to FCA data which also shows Sesame was the most complained about advice firm.

Complaints relating to personal pensions fell from 35,801 in the first half of 2015 to 30,558 in the six months to end of December 2015.

However, the FCA says there has been a continued increase in pension complaints over the long-term. These have risen 52 per cent since the first half of 2010, from 20,140 to 30,558 in the second half of 2015. However the regulator says “this is consistent with increasing sales in the sub-category”.

The decumulation, life and pensions category accounted for 3 per cent of complaints. In this category Prudential Assurance topped the list of provider complaints, followed by Friends Life and Royal London Mutual Insurance.

The data also shows Sesame was the only advice firm to receive enough pension complaints to be recorded on the FCA’s list.

It received 462 complaints and had an uphold rate of 35 per cent.

There were 36,963 investment complaints, down 20 per cent from 46,019 in the first half of 2015.

Complaints related to Peps and Isas (excluding cash Isas) were down 15 per cent compared to the first half of 2015, from 13,976 to 11,848, while complaints related to investment bonds continued to decline and are almost half what they were in the first half of 2011 (6,202 from 12,306).

However, the FCA notes the decline in complaints about investment bonds was consistent with a decrease in sales in the category.

HSBC saw the most investment complaints, at 3,007, followed by Barclays at 2,880, and Equiniti Financial Services at 1,567.

Across all categories included in the FCA data, complaints were down 1.4 per cent to 2,106,155 from 2,135,508 in the first half of 2015, and this decline was more marked when PPI data was excluded. It received 1,244,937 complaints, up 6 per cent from 1,201,876 in 2015 H1.

The decrease was mostly driven by a 10 per cent drop in complaints about current accounts and a 15 per cent drop in complaints about savings accounts.

Investments only accounted for 2 per cent of all complaints, compared to general insurance and pure protection, which accounted for 59 per cent, while banking and credit cards accounted for 32 per cent. 

Last July, the FCA announced it was changing its complaint handling rules to make them “less bureaucratic” for firms and easier for consumers, and to provide the regulator with improved intelligence on complaints.

The change means that complaint data released from March 2017 will not be comparable to data released before this period.