Complaints against financial services firms decline

The number of complaints against regulated financial services firms fell in the last six months of last year, according to data from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

During the second half of 2018 (2018 H2), complaints dropped by 5%, down from 4.13m to 3.91m. This is the first time the number of complaints has fallen since firms were required to change the way they report complaints, in 2016.

The FCA data shows 3,181 firms reported receiving one or more complaints during that period, with 231 of these firms reporting 500 or more. These firms accounted for almost 98% of all complaints reported.

PPI continued to be the most complained about product, making up 40% of all complaints. This, however, was a decrease of 8% from 1.72m in the first half of 2018 to 1.58m in the second half.  There was a change in reporting which allowed firms to exclude from their complaints return any PPI complaints where it was established that the complainant had not purchased a PPI policy from the firm.

Excluding PPI, total complaints decreased from 2.41m to 2.33m over 2018. While remaining the second most complained about product, current accounts complaints decreased by 13% over the half-year. By contrast, credit cards, the third most complained about product, saw an increase of 10%.

The proportion of complaints closed by firms within three days rose to 37% compared to 35% in the first six months of 2018; those closed within eight weeks rose from 92% to 95%. There was also an increased proportion of PPI complaints that firms closed within eight weeks, from 89% to 97%. Christopher Woolard, FCA executive director of strategy and competition said: ‘It is encouraging to see that complaint figures have dropped and firms are dealing with complaints more quickly.

'We expect firms to continue to focus on ensuring their customers are well served and that they respond quickly where consumers complain.'

FCA complaints data

Pat Sweet

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