Financial Ombudsman Service reveals 8% increase in complaints relating to UK financial service providers

The UK’s Financial Ombudsman Service has published its latest figures on complaints about banks, insurers and other financial businesses over first half of 2015, which show an overall increase of 8% on the previous six month period.

Data released on Tuesday reveals that the ombudsman took on a total of 173,994 new cases in the first six months of 2015, compared to 161,649 in the previous period.

Payment protection insurance (PPI) made up 55% of the total cases referred to the ombudsman in the first half of 2015, with 94,091 new PPI complaints. However this figure fell by 10% compared with the previous six months.

Other complaints about financial products increased by 45% to 79,550, primarily as a result of more complaints about packaged bank accounts brought by claims-management companies during this period.

Where the ombudsman found in the consumer’s favour, the average uphold rate was 57% over the six month period. This ranged from 5% to 94% across individual businesses.

In addition, 22 financial businesses were found to feature in the complaints data for the first time, which meant that a total of 222 businesses had 30 or more cases referred to, and resolved by, the ombudsman service in the first six months of the year.

Commenting on the figures, chief ombudsman Caroline Wayman said:

“It’s been seven years since the ombudsman first began to publish data about individual financial businesses.

“This has coincided with a period of volatility and challenge for much of the financial services sector – and this is still reflected in the data we publish today.

“Complaints about PPI continue to make up over half of our workload. And though the number of new PPI cases has reduced in the first half of this year, the decline has not been as steady or as marked as generally expected. This is at least in part due to the continued high levels of activity by claims managers in this area.

“Claims managers have also been largely responsible for the substantial increase in complaints about packaged bank accounts, which have driven up our banking workload over this period by two thirds.”

Wayman added: “Nobody wants “another PPI ”. This is why we’re working closely with businesses, claims companies and their regulators, to make sure PPI is sorted as fairly and as quickly as possible for everyone involved – and that lessons are learned to prevent anything like this happening again. If we can all achieve this, then the next seven years should be a different story.”

The Financial Ombudsman Service was set up by parliament in the UK as a free service to resolve individual complaints for consumers and financial businesses that unable to do so themselves. It investigates complaints about most financial problems involving: PPI (payment protection insurance), banking, insurance, mortgages, credit cards and store cards, loans and credit, payday lending and debt collecting, pensions, savings and investments, hire purchase and pawnbroking, money transfer, financial advice, stocks, shares, unit trusts and bonds.