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01 Jul 2022

Financial Services Ombudsman received 118 complaints from Louth in 2021

Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman publishes Overview of 2021 Complaints

Financial Services Ombudsman received 118 complaints from Louth in 2021

Financial Services Ombudsman received 118 complaints from Louth in 2021

The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (Acting), MaryRose McGovern, has published an Overview of Complaints for 2021, detailing the activities of the Office of the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) in 2021. The Overview details the trends in the 4,658 complaints received by the FSPO in 2021 and details the value of more than €7m in complaint outcomes during 2021, including:

  • €4.6m in mediated settlements in 1,153 complaints in the FSPO’s Dispute Resolution Service.
  • €941,328 in compensation to complainants directed in the Ombudsman’s legally binding decisions following the formal investigation process.
  • €944,167 paid to complainants by providers to resolve complaints during the FSPO’s formal investigation process.
  • A further €667,993 in redress from providers, available for acceptance by complainants. 91 complaints were not upheld because the offer in question was reasonable and adequate to redress the conduct leading to the complaint, and no formal direction by the Ombudsman was required.

In total, the FSPO closed 5,010 complaints in 2021, and the Overview details the manner in which these complaints were closed and the outcome of complaints. In accordance with the FSPO’s governing legislation, the Overview identifies those financial service providers against which three or more complaints were upheld, during 2021.

Key statistics in the Overview include:

  • 4,658 complaints were received in 2021 and 5,010 complaints were closed through the FSPO’s various processes.
  • The FSPO received complaints from every county in 2021, including 118 complaints from consumers in Louth.
  • 23% of complaints concerned an issue of customer service.
  • Banking complaints represented 57% of all complaints received, and the conduct most complained of for those banking complaints was customer service.
  • Complaints concerning mortgages accounted for 23% of all complaints received in 2021. This includes 250 new tracker mortgage complaints during 2021, twelve years after the first tracker mortgage complaints were received in 2009 by the FSPO’s predecessor, the Financial Services Ombudsman’s Bureau. 
  • 27% of complaints (1,257) received related to insurance products, with complaints most commonly concerning claim handling or rejection of an insurance claim.
  • 8% of complaints (352) received related to investment products, an increase on the previous year. Maladministration and customer service issues were the conducts most complained of, but an emerging theme is one of online investment fraud, and risks from online engagement.
  • 4% of complaints (186) received related to pension schemes, with maladministration accounting for 30% of the complaints received.
  • In addition to 600 COVID-19 related complaints received in 2020, a further 275 new complaints were received in 2021 where the complainant introduced COVID-19 as an element of their complaint. 

On publishing the Overview of Complaints 2021, the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (Acting), MaryRose McGovern said that the significant outcomes of the complaints “demonstrate the monetary value of the services provided by the FSPO during 2021.

“What is less quantifiable is the importance of having an avenue of redress in sometimes challenging and difficult circumstances where complaints against financial service providers or pension providers remain unresolved.”

Ms. McGovern continued, “It is notable that 23% of the complaints made to this Office in 2021 were complaints about poor customer service from financial service providers. It is clear that many customers experience frustration with the level of customer service available from their provider when the customer is seeking to engage, and it seems that a more responsive service from providers could avoid many such complaints arising.

“The FSPO’s current Strategic Plan outlines that we will play our full part in helping to raise standards in complaints handling and resolution so that where possible, customer complaints are prevented from arising, and where such complaints arise, fairer outcomes are achieved. In this regard, I hope that the publication of this Overview, in addition to our regular publication of legally binding decisions and Digests of Decisions, will help to influence how financial service providers deal with complaints from their customers and promote the adequate resourcing of complaints-handling.”

In addition to the publication of the Annual Overview of Complaints, the Ombudsman publishes the full text of legally binding decisions on www.fspo.ie. By publishing decisions and case studies, the FSPO aims to enhance transparency and understanding of the powers of the Ombudsman and the services the FSPO provides.

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