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annual review 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006 - who the complaints were about

These charts show how the cases we handled during the financial year 2005/06 were spread across the different sectors of the financial services industry.

firms complained about by sector

life insurance and investment product providers

45%

banks

26%

independent financial advisers (IFAs)

14%

general insurers

7%

building societies

3%

mortgage and general insurance intermediaries

3%

other (including fund managers and friendly societies)

2%

life insurance and investment product providers - what products were complained about

mortgage endowments

77%

other investments

12%

personal pensions

6%

insurance products

4%

other

1%

banks - what products were complained about

mortgage endowments

49%

banking services and products

40%

other investments

6%

insurance products

3%

pensions and securities

2%

independent financial advisers (IFAs) - what products were complained about

mortgage endowments

79%

other investments

10%

personal pensions

6%

securities

2%

other

3%

financial products most frequently complained about - by sector

These charts show how cases involving the products most frequently complained about to the ombudsman service were spread across the different sectors of the financial services industry.

complaints about mortgage endowments

life insurance & investment product providers

56%

banks

20%

independent financial advisers (IFAs)

18%

building societies

4%

other

2%

complaints about personal pension products

life insurance & investment product providers

68%

independent financial advisers (IFAs)

22%

banks

7%

other (including building societies and stockbrokers)

3%

complaints about other investment products

life insurance & investment product providers

61%

banks

17%

independent financial advisers (IFAs)

16%

other (including building societies and fund managers)

6%

complaints about banking products and services

banks

83%

building societies

6%

life insurance & investment product providers

2%

mortgage brokers

5%

other

4%

complaints about general insurance products

general insurers

59%

life insurance & investment product providers

15%

insurance brokers

15%

banks

6%

cash-plan health insurers

2%

Society of Lloyd's

1%

other

2%

how often do financial firms have complaints about them referred to the ombudsman?

The chart below shows that more than eight out of ten firms covered by the ombudsman service had no complaints about them referred to us during the financial year 2005/06. 2,705 firms - 11% of all firms we cover - had just one or two complaints referred to us in the year.

19,213 firms (81.5% of all firms covered by the ombudsman service) had no complaint referred to the ombudsman during the year

1,968 firms (8% of all firms we cover) each had 1 complaint referred to the ombudsman during the year

737 firms (3% of all firms we cover) each had 2 complaints to the ombudsman

407 firms (2% of all firms) each had 3 complaints to the ombudsman

748 firms (3% of all firms) each had between 4 and 10 complaints to the ombudsman

209 firms (1% of all firms) each had between 11 and 20 complaints to the ombudsman

134 firms (0.6% of all firms) each had between 21 and 50 complaints to the ombudsman

73 firms (0.3% of all firms) each had between 51 and 100 complaints to the ombudsman

49 firms (0.2% of all firms) each had between 101 and 250 complaints to the ombudsman

22 firms (0.1% of all firms) each had between 251 and 500 complaints to the ombudsman

43 firms (0.2% of all firms) each had more than 500 complaints referred to the ombudsman during the year

As in the previous financial year (2004/05), we again did not charge firms case fees for the first two complaints during the year. This meant that only around 7% of firms covered by the ombudsman service paid case fees in 2005/06.

Twelve of the UK's largest financial services groups accounted for half of the total number of complaints we received during the year. At the other end of the scale, just 216 complaints - 0.2% of the total number - related to friendly societies and credit unions.

how do firms rate the service we provide?

Our research programme gauges the views of the firms we deal with on how we handle complaints and accommodate their particular needs and concerns. Every two years this includes a general industry-wide survey. We will be carrying out the next survey during 2006, and will firms from all sectors of the financial services industry, ranging from sole proprietor businesses to the largest financial groups, to participate.

During 2005/06, we carried out some focused smaller-scale research, aimed at getting a better understanding of the different types of relationship we have with firms. This took into account, in particular, the fact that the majority of firms have little or no direct experience of us, while a small minority have very regular contact with us.

Our industry-based research during the year included a survey of mortgage intermediaries, who were brought under our remit on a statutory basis in the autumn of 2004. We carried out a special survey to learn more about how these firms had found the experience of coming under the ombudsman service for the first time. Highlights of the survey's findings are shown below.

industry view of the ombudsman service

  • 75% of firms responding to the survey thought the ombudsman service provided a good independent dispute-resolution service.
  • 92% of firms said they understood how the ombudsman service handled complaints.
  • 60% of firms thought the ombudsman service had a good reputation among mortgage intermediary firms.

direct contact with the ombudsman service

  • 78% of firms responding to the survey said the information we provide to firms about initial complaints and enquiries gives them the opportunity to sort out problems themselves, without our further involvement.
  • 87% of firms said that letters from adjudicators and ombudsmen were clear.
  • 76% of firms said that letters from adjudicators and ombudsmen were concise.

indirect contact with the ombudsman service

  • 70% of firms responding to the survey said they received the right amount of information about the ombudsman service.
  • 68% of firms felt that they were kept up-to-date with ombudsman news and developments.