Adviser complaints drop in second half of 2015

Top six advice firms see complaints drop

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Adviser complaints drop in second half of 2015

The six most complained-about advice firms have all seen complaints about them drop in the past six months, according to latest Ombudsman figures.

Sesame, Openwork, St James's Place, and Positive Solutions all posted fewer consumer complaints in the second half of last year than in the first, while Interactive Investor Trading (IIT) and Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management (HLAM) - both grouped in the advisory category - also saw numbers drop.

Businesses only appear in Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) data lists when they attract 30 new complaints in a six month period and when 30 complaints are resolved in the same timeframe.

Sesame remained the most complained-about firm in the period after it raked up 116 cases in the six-month period.

However, it saw the second biggest fall in consumer gripes with the Ombudsman between July and December - down 33% on its 172 cases recorded in the previous half year.

Year-on-year figures were down 18% while the uphold rate of cases against the network remained around the 23% mark.

Openwork was the second most complained-about advice firm with 79 cases, down 19% on its 111 H1 figure and down 4% on the year before. About 19% of its cases were upheld.

IIT saw a 17% fall in complaints between the two six-month periods, however, the firm had an uphold rate of 71% - the highest of all six firms - and had seen complaints rise 3% year-on-year.

Similarly, St James's Place saw its complaints fall towards the end of the year but was up 30% year-on-year, from 47 complaints in H2 2014 to 61 in H2 2015.

Positive Solutions, which re-entered the list of most complained about firms last August after a one-year hiatus, had 37 claims with the Ombudsman in the past six months, down from 51 in the previous period. A quarter of its claims were upheld.

HLAM saw the biggest drop in complaints against, which were almost halved over the course of the last year - from 60 to 31. Year-on-year complaints about the firm were down 47%.

Chief ombudsman Caroline Wayman said: "The financial services sector has been through a challenging and volatile period in the eight years since the ombudsman first began to publish data about individual financial businesses.

"Though it still makes sense to plan for uncertainty and change ahead, the signs are that complaints are now broadly levelling off as we move onto a more even keel in the coming year."

She added: "During 2015, PPI complaints finally began to approach stable levels - but we're still seeing the volume of cases at a much higher level than many people expected.

"There are many factors that can influence the complaints we see, from fluctuations in the stock market to extreme weather conditions - and more people knowing their rights when things go wrong.

"That's why I believe it's important that we continue to find new ways to work so we can resolve complaints quickly while sharing our knowledge so businesses can avoid the ‘big claims issues' of the past."

 

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