UK Financial Ombudsman Service registers 6% drop in complaints about derivatives in 2018/19

Maria Nikolova

The drop in complaints about spread-betting was 13%, whereas the number of complaints about interest-rate hedging products was down 40% from the previous year.

The latest Annual Review concerning the work of the UK Financial Ombudsman Service during 2018/2019 has just been published, with the data revealing a rather busy year for the body.

Chief ombudsman & chief executive, Caroline Wayman commented that the past 12 months have been the FOS’s busiest for five years. People brought more than 388,000 complaints to the service – 388,392 new complaints, to be more precise. This is up 14% on the year before.

FOS dealt with nearly 1.7 million phone calls, emails and letters from people concerned about their money.

One of the trends behind this data is the rise in complaints about consumer credit products and services – which grew by a further 89%, following last year’s 40% increase. When PPI is excluded, they represented one in every three new cases the FOS received this year.

The complaints about derivatives, however, fell when compared to the preceding year.

The Financial Ombudsman Service received 376 complaints about derivative products in 2018/19, down 6% from the preceding year. Spread-betting complaints marked a drop of 13%, whereas those about interest-rate hedging products fell by 40%.

The portion of upheld complaints about derivative products was 18% in 2018/19, down from 21% in 2017/18.

FOS also saw on a large scale the implications of the ongoing shift to online banking – as a major IT failure, as well as several smaller ones, affected millions of people and generated many thousands of complaints. Back in September 2018, FOS published a special Consumer Factsheet over IT issues that had affected the operations of several banks, including RBS, TSB, NatWest, and Barclays. The publication of the Factsheet was in response to the growing volume of enquiries that the FOS has to deal with related to the recent computer troubles at the financial institutions.

The FOS explained that the first steps that the customers have to take include getting in touch with the bank and letting the bank know what happened to them because of the computer problems; what the customers want the bank to do to help put things right for them; and what losses the customers want the bank to cover.

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