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the ombudsman at fifteen – lessons from the past, looking to the future

ombudsman service publishes annual review

19 May 2015

The Financial Ombudsman Service marks its fifteenth anniversary with the publication of its annual review for 2014/2015.

  • Since 2001 the ombudsman has answered 15 million consumer enquiries and taken on 2.8 million disputes between financial businesses and their customers.
  • Over the last fifteen years, 1.8 million of these disputes have related to just three issues – mortgage endowments, bank charges and PPI.
  • We answered 1.8 million enquiries and resolved 448,000 cases in 2014/2015 – compared to 400,000 enquiries and 30,000 cases in 2000/2001.
  • Payment protection insurance (PPI) made up two-thirds of all complaints in 2014/2015 – the same proportion as the mortgage endowment workload at its peak a decade ago.
  • The fall-out from the mis-selling scandals of the past has cast a long shadow. But while the continuing heavy volumes of entrenched PPI disputes could still take years to work through, concerns about credit broking and payday loans, for example, are now being resolved in just a matter of days.  

Chief ombudsman, Caroline Wayman, commented:

The world has moved on and changed significantly since I first joined the ombudsman as an adjudicator in 2001. Yet our workload over the last 15 years has been constantly dominated by the past – clearing up the fall-out of the mass claims and mis-selling scandals of the last decade and a half.

But 15 years of sorting out millions of these problems have given us unparalleled experience, knowledge and understanding of why complaints happen – and how they could be avoided in future. That’s why our focus continues to be on complaints prevention and sorting things out pragmatically as soon as problems emerge.

And that’s also why it’s so important that lessons are learned from what’s gone wrong in the past – to prevent yesterday’s problems from becoming tomorrow’s complaints – and to help ensure financial services evolve to meet the needs of today’s customers.

And if you can't quite make it through all 176 pages - you can see all the highlights in this handy 3 minute video.

Statistics from the ombudsman’s annual review show:

  • Statistics from this year’s annual review show:

    • Since 2001 the ombudsman has received 2.8 million complaints of which 1.3 million have been about PPI.
    • During 2014/2015 one in five initial enquiries turned into a formal dispute – a total of 329,509 new complaints.
    • 55% of the cases resolved in 2014/2015 were found in the consumer’s favour.
    • Payment protection insurance (PPI) still made up two thirds of the ombudsman’s workload in 2014/2015, despite the number of PPI complaints halving to 204,943, from the record highs in 2013/14.
    • During 2014/2015 the ombudsman settled 448,387 disputes about an array of financial products from annuities to warranties.
    • During 2014/2015 we resolved one in five payday lending complaints using only our webchat service.
    • Four of the UK’s largest banking groups accounted for 58% of all complaints received.
    • People from Bolton were the most likely to phone us and consumers from the North East more likely to complain about PPI.

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