FOS publishes 2019/20 complaints figures and future strategy

FOS publishes 2019/20 complaints figures and future strategy

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has published its future strategy, alongside figures showing that it received 270,000 new complaints about financial businesses in the 2019/20 financial year. Among other things, the FOS plans to respond to the consequences of coronavirus (COVID-19) by helping businesses and customers resolve complaints fairly and engaging with stakeholders to help prevent disputes arising. 

Complaints data for 2019/20

Overall, the FOS received 271,468 new complaints in 2019/20, down from 388,392 in the previous financial year. This was mainly due to a reduction in the number of complaints about payment protection insurance (PPI) and short-term lending.

PPI remained the most complained-about product, with over 122,000 complaints about PPI received by the service (compared to 180,507 in 2018/19), including a spike in complaints following the August 2019 deadline set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). There were year-on-year increases in the number of complaints about instalment loans, guarantor loans and point of sale loans.

In all, 295,596 complaints were resolved in 2019/20, down from 376,352 in 2018/19. 32% of complaints were upheld in favour of the consumer, compared to 28% in the previous financial year.

Future strategy

The FOS consulted on its 2020/21 strategy in December 2019, though at the time it had not anticipated the impact of COVID-19. Although there is ongoing uncertainty about the impact of Covid‑19 on its operations, the FOS says that it hopes to deliver on the commitments set out in the strategy, while acknowledging that its plans will need to adapt.

The strategy, which will run to 2025, sets out three strategic priorities for the FOS:

•  enhancing the service

•  preventing complaints and unfairness arising, and

•  building an organisation with the capabilities it needs for the future

The strategy document details a series of success measures against which progress will be judged.

The FOS has agreed with the FCA adjustments to its budget and funding arrangements to help mitigate the financial pressures on firms. The FOS has asked the FCA to freeze the minimum levy paid by businesses it covers. According to chief ombudsman and chief executive, Caroline Wayman, the FOS will absorb the cost of these changes by using more of its reserves than originally planned. 

The FOS is also increasing its case fee for the first time since 2013, though it is keeping the ‘free’ case allowance at its current level of 25 for firms outside its group account fee arrangement. 70% of its income will now come from case fees, against the 60% proposed in its consultation.

For further information, see Practice Note: Financial Ombudsman Service—essentials.

Source: Financial Ombudsman Service publishes 2019/20 figures alongside future strategy

Related Articles:
Latest Articles: