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The 10 firms with the most complaints

Lloyds Banking Group was the most complained about business group during the second half of last year, FSA data reveals.

The regulator published its latest set of complaints data earlier today. It shows that across the Lloyds group a total of 489,099 complaints were received by the group between July 1 and December 31 last year.

The total includes complaints about Lloyds brands including Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB, Cheltenham & Gloucester and Scottish Widows.

Based on standalone brands, Barclays Bank received the most complaints over six months, with 281,484 complaints.

Overall Barclays received 289,287 complaints, including complaints about Barclays Stockbrokers, Barclays’ structured products manager Woolwich Plan Managers, and Barclays’ subsidiary Clydesdale Financial Services.

Both Lloyds and Barclays’ complaints were mainly related to general insurance and protection complaints, which includes complaints about payment protection insurance misselling.

Lloyds TSB Bank upheld 84 per cent of the complaints it received over the period, while Barclays upheld 59 per cent of its complaints.

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group received a total of 329,165 complaints. Its subsidiary Coutts & Co, which was fined £8.8m earlier this week for anti-money laundering failures, received 942 complaints.

The top ten most complained about firms according to business group were:

1. Lloyds Banking Group – 489,099 complaints

2. Royal Bank of Scotland – 329,165 complaints

3. Barclays – 289,287 complaints

4. Santander – 208,994 complaints

5. HSBC – 141,880 complaints

6. MBNA Europe Bank – 120,986 complaints

7. Capital One (Europe) – 62,044 complaints

8. Nationwide – 31,805 complaints

9. British Gas Services – 28,915 complaints

10. Tesco Personal Finance – 26,745 complaints


Lords attack FTT as unworkable and damaging to growth

A financial transaction tax is unworkable, would push firms to relocate outside the EU and could undermine economic growth, according to a report from a House of Lords committee. The European Commission’s proposal, announced in September, would see a 0.1 per cent charge on stock and bond trading and 0.01 per cent on derivatives contracts. […]


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There are 16 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Banks, Banks Banks! No sign of those naughty IFAs that need closing down!

  2. So, the biggest financial services companies get the most complaints.

    Specialist subject: the bleeding obvious.

  3. Never heard of a bank being banned from selling financial services. Read plenty about IFA’s going when they do something wrong.

    I am not saying that wrong doing IFA’s shouldn’t be punished strongly, I just think the playing surface is uneven…

    It seems to me that the deeper your pockets and the bigger you are, the more likely you are to get away with it, once, twice, three… etc… and the consumer continues to suffer at the hands of the banks!

  4. Did you notice the headline from the FSA, ‘financial service companies including brokers’……….funny I cant see any brokers in that list. I would bet my life on it that broker complaints dont run into hundreds of thousands!

  5. Be fair folks, you cannot really compare most IFA firms against an organisation the size of Barclays etc. It would be helpful to have a total number of complaints made / upheld against of all firms and then broken down by type of firm, whole of market, multiple-tied, tied. Another layer of analysis by a firms ability to handle client money and so on. Also the type of complaint would be helpful… Frankly this information is pretty useless and tells us nothing that we don’t know. As a collective body we need to exert more peer pressure for firms to improve or get out of the game.

  6. In answer to Dominic and Nick I believe that this does demonstrate something rather important.

    With the possible exceptions of HL and TL there is almost no IFA firm that can do any real damage to consumers by itself. Therefore why has the weight of regulation fallen on IFA’s?

    Simple – they are too small to fight back. Think back 6 years or so. The FSA had a go at L&G. L&G rightly held their ground and got their lawyers out. The FSA lost and was very embarrassed.

    Since then the FSA has concentrated its efforts on easy targets. Small IFA’s. No-one knows and no-one cares.

  7. Banks collectively transact well over 1 million pieces of advised business each year, how may IFA’s do that?………..and if you did, can you imagine the number of complaints!

  8. Banks have regularly “incentivised” their staff to sell certain products and have pay schemes directly linked to “performance targets” the inappropriate selling of products is directly linked to such practices, IFA’s do not have someone leaning over them telling them to sell a particular product, there is an obvious link, and it is not size of organisation. How would I know, used to work in Bancassurance.

  9. I think it shows that the bigger you are the more your exposed, lets be fair they also have the resources to vet products and presentations.
    It is the nature of targets that will pressure advisers into mistakes.
    The claims firms will also drive the complaints even if the advice is true.

  10. Adam did you chesk the stats in the listing? You claim the banks collectively transact over 1 million pieces of advised business. It appears there were collectively over 1 million complaints against the banks.

  11. Well Adam, I can assure you that, based on your estimate of new business figures, it wouldn’t be between 20 and 50% of cases for sure!

  12. We're all doomed!!! 29th March 2012 at 9:39 am

    We all know the reason why complaints against the Banks are so high. They all adopt a bullying culture against their staff. Staff who have to pledge how many products they are going to sell that day – before they have even seen the client, let alone conducted a fact find to establish what the clients’ needs, requirements and priorities are.

    The typical Banc assurer adviser is under constant threat of the sack for underperformance, and this results in the hard sell climate that is found in Banks.

    It’s no surprise, therefore, that the Banks see so many complaints.

  13. Peter Davies @ Create Wealth 29th March 2012 at 2:12 pm

    No surprise to see Lloyds TSB having the most number of complaints. I’m still hearing cases of their advisers pushing their Scottish Widows investment portfolios without having full knowledge of clients assets. They also love to take a 1% per annum charge plus VAT for doing very little. Its so sad that their customers dont open their eyes to whats really going on. Peter @ Create Wealth

  14. @ Dominic Thomas – whilst you’re correct, IFAs and Insurance brokers don’t have the compliance and training resources of the banks either, so you might expect the banks to do things right almost all the time.

    The reality is that they don’t. When they get caught, like Barclays selling inappropriate investments to the elderly, they try and bluff their way out of it if they can. When MPs get hold of it they realise the game’s up and roll over. Then they write off the FSA’s relatively paltry fine against the commission earned.

    If the FSA gets to strong with them, they then covertly threaten the Bank of England with moving abroad.

    On top of that, FSA senior staff escape back to banking.

    Is the whole barrel of apples rotten?

  15. The big banks producing more cases is well recited, but there’s a flaw in it.

    British Insurance Brokers Association members generate approx. 2/3rds of all general insurance business written in the UK. That being so, you’d expect them to figure somewhere in the list.

    The other thing to remember is that the proportion of complaints upheld by the Ombudsman is significantly higher for those at the top of the list than for IFA’s Insurance Brokers and Mortgage Brokers. This is more representative of the truth, which is that banks are less careful with their customers’ affairs than other distribution channels.

  16. The League tables never lie. It seems Banks are untouchable but they do control what ever government are in power. Maybe at the next election we should voye on which Bank we want running the country?…The Banks should be shamed..I have worked for them and know their unsavoury practices but they wield too much power to have anything done or brought against them. So as bullies like the Government and FSA go after the smallest and weakest..The little old IFA or adviser…In a word (or 2!) It Stinks! We all know where the real problems lie…

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