Towry and N&P lead adviser FOS complaints and upholds

Towry and Norwich & Peterborough Building Society each had 92 per cent of complaints upheld against them by the Financial Ombudsman Service during the first half of the year.

Complaints data published by the FOS today for the complaints made against individual businesses between January 1 and June 30 reveal that the level of complaints upheld against Towry and N&P is among the highest out of all financial services firms.

The average proportion of complaints upheld across all firms was 47 per cent.

Some 140 new complaints were made against Towry during the first six months of the year, 138 of which were investment complaints.

N&P received 394 new complaints, 351 of which were related to investments.

The building society was fined £1.4m by the FSA in April for failing to give customers suitable advice in relation to the sale of Keydata products.

AWD Chase de Vere saw 70 per cent of complaints upheld, while Aegon-owned distribution business Positive Solutions had 63 per cent of complaints against it upheld.

Sesame had 56 per cent of complaints against it upheld and Openwork had 43 per cent of complaints upheld.

In terms of the total number of complaints against each firm, AWD received 61 new complaints against it, 41 of which related to investment complaints.

Positive Solutions had 41 new complaints, 19 relating to investments and 12 relating to life and pensions and decumulation business.

Sesame received 76 new complaints, of which 29 related to life and pensions and decumulation business, 17 related to mortgages and home finance, while 16 related to payment protection insurance.

Openwork had 57 new complaints against it, of which 23 were related to mortgages and home finance, 10 about PPI and 9 about investments.


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There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Does not suprise on Towry, have had no end of problems with them, for taking over client business, where they were ex Edward Jones, and mortified to be either charged again for services they agreed with Edward Jones, or still charged, a lower amount and given no advice. To cap it all, Towry, will not, identify trail commissions running on the plans and either off-set these against the new charges or explain how they could rebate them, if no advice is being sought or given. I could not understand how FSA allowed this under TCF, perhaps they told Towry to keep their head down, as TCF will soon stop, as FSA emphasis, (silly as baisc principle is good) and whole new approach of client agreed charges comes in, or client does not agree, but we will charge you anyway. Come on FSA and Towry, both give the Industry a poor name.

  2. So 92% of complaints were upheld. As the complaints were predominantly investment based, one would expect a high degree of similarity on the merits of each case. If so, this could suggest that the company in question is refuting complaints internally, while knowing that the case is likely to be upheld by the FOS.

    This is demonstrably non-TCF and, in view of the high rate, should be investigated by the FSA and publicly commented upon.

  3. Complaints only reach the FOS after an internal investigation. A level of complaints is standard in any industry, but interestingly we do not know either the true level of complaints or their basic reason, or their relationship to a level that could be deemed “normal”.
    The average settlement figure by the FOS at around 50% is becoming fairly consistent, and does not appear unreasonable. It is inevitable that there will be hardening of opinions on both sides, and radically different interpretations of events. That is why civil courts and lawyers exist.
    However, when companies have 92% of FOS complaints upheld against them (after having gone through their own investigation procedure) there is a strong suggestion of a cultural problem inside the firms themselves. Most of the complaints appear to arise from their take over of Edward Jones, but this does not explain why they are unable to deal satisfactorily with such a large percentage of complaints.
    The web site of Towry is a model of how to present a strong image, with much emphasis on underlying quality.
    This therefore calls into question, yet again, the assumed correlation between qualification and ethics.
    It also calls into question the method of presentation of information to clients. Would clients be quite so impressed by the Towry web site, if it had to prominently display a warning that its dispute procedures were way below industry standards.
    This requirement should of course apply to every applicable company. True the information is in the public domain, but it currently takes a lot of work to access. Which makes one wonder if the myriad of regulatory processes within the financial services industry are there to help consumers or the employment figures.
    Given that the level of complaints overall is extremely small compared to the level of annual transactions, one leans towards an employment explanation. Especially as nothing appears to be happening about the recurrence of this level of unsatisfied complaints by Towry.

  4. And yet only a few months ago Andrew Fisher was proclaiming to the media that TL had sorted things out and got its house in order. The data for the second half of the year will tell us whether or not this is true.

    Given that TL paid a just £1 for £6m of annual trail commission from EJ’s book of business, in return for which it seems to consider itself under no obligation to provide anything in the way of service, this is a pretty poor state of affairs by any measure. And yet the FSA appears to be entirely unconcerned about it. Fisher evidently has the right friends in the right places.

    Take a look at

  5. Beatrix Potter & Kenneth Grahame 7th September 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Andrew Fishy C/O Toady Law Hall is the man who lecturing the industry about commission, ethics, RDR and the merits of chartered stutus.

    I followed his commentary re the benefits of the Retail Distribution Review together with Fay Goddard via the PFS. They both seemed very keen on the merits of fees and professional advice. Mr Fisher was especially keen to point out the misselling propensities of commission and I had expected to find this put into practice at Toady Law Hall.

    Perhaps the weasels, ferrets and stoats have taken over at Toady Law Hall as my confusion came when I looked not at what was said but was in fact was done: In years one Toady Law Hall takes a “fee” on £100K of 1.5% plus 2% = 3.5% & thereafter 2% pa. – but perhaps that OK chaps because after all this is a fee and not commission. Smells a bit Fishy Andrew?

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