Once Again stats prove that it's the banking sector that agrieves most people in the financial services profession.

What a shame then that our IFA clients are footing so much of the bill towards the financial ombudsman service.

Tags:Royal bank of scotland| Santander| Lloyds tsb| Hsbc| Natwest| Sesame| Barclays bank| Bank of scotland| Openwork

A third - or almost 30,000 - of all consumer complaints referred to the financial ombudsman (FOS) in the second half of last year were against just three high street banks.

Figures released today by the FOS show there were 27,137 new grievances against Lloyds TSB, Barclays and Bank of Scotland in the six months to 31 December 2009, with Lloyds the subject of 9,952 complaints.


The FOS received a total of 82,136 new gripes in H2, an increase of 18% on the first half of 2009, as it makes public complaints statistics against financial institutions for only the second time.

Other notable banks on the FOS list include Alliance & Leicester, HSBC, NatWest, Santander and the Royal Bank of Scotland. These eight banks accounted for more than 40,000, or almost half, of the total number of complaints referred to the FOS.

IFA network giant Sesame made its second appearance on the list, accounting 98 complaints, although this was down from 144 received in H1 2009. There were also 43 complaints referred to the FOS about Zurich-owned IFA Openwork.

Elsewhere, Phoenix Life received 570 new complaints while St James's Place Wealth Management was the subject of 45 grievances.

In the second half of last year, the ombudsman service upheld an average of 53% of complaints in favour of consumers, compared to 59% in H1.

David Thomas, interim chief ombudsman, says: "While the number of cases referred by consumers to the FOS has continued to increase substantially, it's encouraging to see some businesses are committed to handling complaints better.

"However, there is evidently still room for significant improvement in the way other financial businesses handle complaints - judged by the proportion of cases where we overturn the decision that the businesses have themselves come to in their own earlier investigation of their customer complaints."

IFAonline| 25 Feb 2010 | 09:10
Author: Scott Sinclair