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Sesame says complaints show need for sales split

The latest complaint statistics should galvanise the FSA into pushing ahead with its planned separation of sales and advice, says Sesame.

The Financial Ombudsman Service said last month that complaints against banks have soared by 30 per cent in the last year while complaints against IFAs have fallen from 12 per cent to 4 per cent of total cases.

Sesame executive chairman Ivan Martin says the findings provide further evidence that the regulator is right to entrust the reputation of the financial advice community to IFAs. He says: “These figures serve as a stark reminder to stakeholders in the retail distribution review debate that making a clear distinction between advice and sales will be fundamental to the success of reform. The RDR is not about the vested interests of players in the industry but the long-term ability of the UK’s financial services sector to play its part in the financial well-being of Britons.”

Martin says the big increase in complaints against banks reflects poor practices in the sector. He says: “A surge in complaints, no matter what the cause, underlines the fact that banks only do one thing – they charge what they can charge and sell what they can sell to whoever they can find to pay.

“The result is a rise in complaints that should be viewed as a vote of no confidence among thousands of UK consumers. It should galvanise resolve within the FSA that the banks cannot be trusted with consumer confidence in financial advice.”

Evolve Financial Planning director Jason Witcombe says: “The FOS figures reflect a vote of no confidence not only in the way banks operate but also their systems and ethos. I think that the FSA has taken this on board.”

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