Financial Consultants performance improves


Article by Christina

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has reported improvements in its service over the last year (20/5/22). Often criticised. It seems that the FOS has started to get its act together.

Some of the figures it has released to Financial Consultants about its performance include:

  • Total number of cases its working on is now down to 112,000 from just over 164,000 last year. A big jump in the right direction.
  • Customer satisfaction rates are over 80% which is their target performance level.
  • Case backlog is now down to 37,000 from 90,000. Not brilliant if you’re one of the 37,000 still waiting for your case to be even started to be looked at.
  • Just over 9,000 cases are still open after 18 months.
  • However, they have admitted that they have fallen short of their diversity targets for the year.

Still, overall, this is good news for consumers and advisers a like because complaints are getting resolved much more quickly.

In a similar vein, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) announced that it was reducing its levy on advice companies by £275 million next year down to £625 million. The reduction is as a result of better Financial Consultants performance. With less compensation claims related to failed Self Invested Pension Plans. This is good news for consumers as well because it means that less people are suffering financial harm. Although the FCA is about to take over regulation of Funeral Plans which may lead to some claims.

Most firms remain concerned that FCA doesn’t take responsibility for the regulation of cryptocurrency trading because the industry bill could skyrocket if that happened.

Meanwhile, interesting news from the ESG sector.

It seems that global “think tank” Planet Tracker has been looking at how big companies have been moving forward with ESG priorities. It seems that whilst the number of shareholder proposals has increased by over 80% in the last 10 years. Less than 5% of those proposals focussed on environmental issues. The rest were concerned with governance matters. This is interesting because it points to companies playing around the edges of the ESG movement rather than committing to significant change (no doubt at significant cost to shareholders).

High net worth bank Coutts has seen a similar trend with its own customers and their Financial Consultants performance levels. It seems that many are telling the bank that they are personally committed to environmental projects. But less than 15% have made changes to their investment holdings to reflect more ESG friendly investments.

Meanwhile, two people were convicted of a £37 million environmental fund fraud. The pair attracted the investments into non-existent rainforest scheme, duping over 2,000 investors. These types of scams are likely to increase as ESG funds become more popular, so please be careful.

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