FOS expects 15% increase in complaints over 2018/19

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is expecting to receive 14,500 investment and pension complaints to over 2018/2019, a 15 per cent increase on the 12,632 received over the previous year.

Despite this, it predicts that the number of cases that it will resolve to fall by 19 per cent to 10,300 over 2018/19, according to its Strategic Plans and Budget for 2019/2020.

According to the ombudsman, it has continued to invest heavily in case handlers to ensure “the ongoing consistency and fairness of our answers to these complaints".

The FOS said: “Although these complaints represent a small proportion of our overall casework, they account for a significant proportion of the complaints we receive about financial advisers.

“The issues involved can be particularly complex and entrenched – with a customer on one hand telling us they’re potentially facing significant losses, and on the other hand, a financial adviser who will need to bear the costs of putting things right if we decide in their customer’s favour.”

The FOS added that advisers are particularly concerned around complaints about transferring out of defined benefit pension schemes, where they think they shouldn’t have been, have lost out due to delays, or unhappy with advisers who have refused to help them access their pension pots.

In October, the Financial Conduct Authority published its final rules and guidance relating to transfer advice, stating that advisers should start from the position that people will be better off not transferring their pension.

In October, the FOS has issued landmark decisions against Liberty Sipp, the self-invested personal pension (SIPP) provider that has recently come under fire.

The FOS gave the same response in three preliminary decisions for clients of financial mis-selling solicitors Anthony Philip James & Co (APJ), with the three individuals investing a total of £36,200 into the Ethical Forestry scheme through Liberty Sipp.

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