The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has upheld 36% of complaints about financial advisers in the past year, down from 40% in the previous year, its annual review has shown.
The report, published on 13 June, showed FOS resolved 1,602 complaints about IFAs in 2016-17, the majority of which were about self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs).
FOS upheld 64% of the 242 IFA-related SIPP claims alongside 25% of PPI complaints; 43% portfolio management gripes; 39% personal pension problems; and 20% of complaints related to mortgage advice.
The majority of resolved claims against IFAs were related to advice (1,094), where FOS agreed with the consumer in 39% of cases. Administration too was a source of contention 434 times, with an uphold rate of 32%.
New complaints about IFA firms made up 0.5% of the total complaints reveived by FOS, compared with 1% in the previous year.
Of all new complaints about IFAs, 161 - or 7% - were about events that happened more than 15 years ago.
Investments and pensions
About 4.5% of complaints FOS received were about investments and pensions, of which 52% were about sales and advice.
By comparison, last year (2015-16) 4% of complaints fell into this category, with 59% being about advice.
Overall, FOS received 321,283 new complaints in the year, down from 340,899 last year.
The majority (52.5%) were still about payment protection insurance (PPI) followed by banking and credit, in particular consumer credit and short-term lending.
FOS had also received a "small number" of complaints about crowdfunding, however they centred on insurance as opposed to investments, FOS said.
On the same page
FOS chief executive Caroline Wayman (pictured) said: "In last year's annual review, we said we'd do all we could to support the small businesses we cover - committing to taking forward the Financial Advice Market Review's recommendations for giving independent financial advisers (IFAs) specifically more certainty about the ombudsman's role.
"I hope the roundtables we've held with the FCA this year - in addition to our existing and long-standing engagement with IFAs and others - have gone a long way in giving reassurance that we're on the same page, and always ready to talk."
Lead ombudsman Caroline Mitchell added: "In all my years as an ombudsman, my experience has been that professional advisers are just that: professionals. And while the few exceptions unfortunately get a disproportionate amount of attention, the fact is many advisers haven't ever had a complaint referred to us at all. Even if they have, it's likely to have just been one or two.
"The roundtables have been particularly helpful in getting to the bottom of issues that cause uncertainty for advisers. We've really welcomed the honesty of conversations like these and look forward to them continuing into next year and beyond."
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