FOS rejects more than half of complaints against advisers

Advisers have seen the number of complaints against them soar over the past year, however figures show that more than half of the cases were dropped by the ombudsman.

The Financial Ombudsman Service's (FOS's) annual review, published today, revealed that whereas complaints involving advisers almost doubled over the last year to a total of 4,139, the proportion of cases against IFAs that were actually upheld fell to 42%, compared with 54% last year.

This means that only about 200 additional cases involving IFAs were handled by the FOS in the last financial year, while IFAs' share of overall cases continued to stand at 1%.

Chief ombudsman Natalie Ceeney said: "For the second year running the proportion of complaints the ombudsman received about IFA's remains exceptionally low at just 1% of the total.

"This is also reflected in the number of complaints we upheld about IFAs, which has dropped by 12%.

"We know that the vast majority of IFAs are committed to providing excellent service to their customers - and where complaints do arise, our technical advice team can help sort things out without the need for the ombudsman to get involved."

Banks attracted the bulk of consumer gripes which was mostly made up of payment protection insurance (PPI) claims - 388,397 claims against banks were made over the past year, up from 173,035.

The FOS upheld 51% of complaints against banks, compared to 70% in the previous year.

The proportions of cases involving all other sectors fell during the year - except of building societies, which were also affected by the rise in numbers of PPI complaints.

The vast majority of cases (72.5%) referred to the FOS last year were handled free of charge as most businesses had fewer than four complaints referred against them.

The FOS recently implemented new case free arrangements which increased the number of free cases from three to 25 for the majority of businesses.

The ombudsman said it expected only 1% of businesses to pay any case fees at all in the future.

 

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