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Watchdog says IFAs will bear brunt of big rise in structured complaints

The Financial Ombudsman Service is expecting a further increase of structured product related complaints this year, with IFAs receiving the higher proportion as more bonds reach maturity.

Head of communications David Cresswell says complaints against IFA firms tend to come after those against providers.

In its half-year estimates published last week, the FOS says it expects its structured product caseload to reach 6,000 before the end of the tax year, up from the 4,500 it had expected to receive six months ago.

This is significantly up on 2,631 in 2002/03 but the prediction drops to 4,000 for 2004/05, so the FOS expects the current fiscal year to be the worst for complaints about the products.

The FOS believes there will be no let-up on mortgage endowment cases until the end of the year, with a forecast of endowment complaints beginning to fall in the second half of 2004/05 when the pool of policyholders reduces.

The FOS says, due to FSA waivers to some firms extending the amount of time they have to respond to complaints combined with potential complaints rendered “out of time”, it will see rates fall from a forecast 50,000 in 2003/04 to around 35,000 in 2004/05.

Cresswell says: “We will soon see the back broken on mortgage endowment cases but there will still be substantial intermediary cases that we do not yet know about. The industry must know about them and they need to inform us.”

Sofa managing director Brian Lawless says: “I thought that a lot of these were already sorted out and if the stockmarket continues to recover, it might actually do away with the majority of likely complaints. As for mortgage endowments, we will be lucky to see the end of these cases in this timeframe.”

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(Another) downhill stroll — retirement planning

A report published this morning by the CIPD (CIPD Employee Outlook March 2015) provides yet more interesting data to the changing landscape of retirement planning. It should be remembered that we are in a period of genuine flux here given that the default retirement age was scrapped three years ago, and new pension freedoms come online in April. Both of these alterations will have a huge impact on how employees plan for their retirement.

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