Once again, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has released details of the claims it has upheld against Private Pension Advice Providers.
We have looked at this list before. Whilst the percentage of upheld complaints is the measure used to determine performance. Sometimes the percentages are against small numbers of complaints making them look worse than they perhaps are. Having said that, letting a situation develop to the extent that FOS need to intervene, is poor customer service. So, who is on the list?
The top 5 Private Pension Advice Providers by percentage of upheld complaints are:
- James Hay
The top 5 Private Pension Advice Providers by numbers of cases being referred to FOS are:
- Scottish Equitable (Aegon)
- A J Bell
- Cofunds (Aegon)
Many of these Providers have said that their figures are historic and include SIPP complaints which they no longer provide.
However, these figures do guide financial advisers when choosing which Private Pension Advice Providers to use for their clients. As well as their own experiences. However, with the new Consumer Duty coming into force next year, advisers may have to pay more attention to these figures. They will be under an obligation to their clients to “avoid foreseeable harm”. If a provider is known to provide poor service levels, it could be argued that advisers shouldn’t use them. This could have the effect of improving service levels across the Provider market. That would a great outcome.
The efficiency and service offered by providers is a key part of the overall financial advice process. When you consider that the latest figures show that advisers only spend 35% of their time with their clients. According to Model Office. The remainder of advisers’ time is spent on paraplanning (that is research and writing client reports), administration, compliance reporting, business management and staff training.
All these factors play a part in the ever-increasing cost of advice.
The latest adviser survey from Intelliflo (29/11/22) found that advisers felt that the advice gap had widen again over the last 12 months. That’s the gap between the number of people who are getting advice and the number who want advice but can’t afford it. Advisers surveyed said that:
- More people had asked for advice in the last 12 months (58% of advisers)
- The costs of servicing is too high to make sense for many clients (50%)
- There isn’t enough time to take on more clients (34%)
- There has been no change in the number of female clients seeking advice (over 80%)
The solution according to advisers, is better technology. This is what would allow advisers to work smarter and reach more clients. This of course, needs investment and support from Private Pension Advice Providers as well as an improvement in their service levels.
At the same you would expect the government to be on the ball in terms of the state pension wouldn’t you. Sadly, that isn’t the case. In the latest report by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) they confirmed that they had paid over £200 million in pension arrears over the last 12 months. Unfortunately, the total amount due is over £1.4 billion. It’s estimated that it could take the DWP up to five years to pay pensioners what they are owed. This is really not acceptable when you consider who is owed the money. Widowers are owed on average just over £10,000 and over 80’s an average of £3,500. Many of these will not live to receive the refund.