How we categorise data

This page explains the taxonomy we use to categorise cases and the data we publish.

Last updated: 14 December 2023

Understanding our taxonomy

Our taxonomy is structured as follows: 

  1. Sectors/industries: the industry the product falls under. At the highest level of categorisation in our taxonomy, we organise product groups and individual products into broad financial sectors. Examples include the sectors ‘investments’ and ‘pensions and annuities.’  
  2. Product groups: a high-level categorisation that covers a broad area within the relevant sector. These are groups of similar financial products. Examples include the product groups ‘investment funds’ and ‘private pensions (not SIPPs).’
  3. Products: at the most granular level and sitting within the product groups, the specific financial product or service being complained about. Examples include the products ‘exchange traded funds’ and ‘personal pensions.’

Download our taxonomy

To help stakeholders compare our historic data, we provide tables of each sector’s current and previous taxonomies (XLSX 31KB).

Updates to our taxonomy 

We occasionally make updates to our taxonomy in response to stakeholder feedback or operational needs, to help us better categorise cases, and to share insight.

Below is a summary of the key changes we have made to our taxonomy in past updates. 

Latest update: December 2023 

We have introduced an ‘Industry’ column to our quarterly complaints data Excel sheets to provide more data for ease of analysis.

We have also changed the value from ‘Other’ to ‘Being categorised’ to more accurately reflect the state. This value refers to  complaints that are being worked on and the group or product could change once all the information has been received.

Previous updates

November 2022 

We have added the funeral planning services sector to our taxonomy, due to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) now regulating all firms who sell pre-paid funeral plans on 29 July 2022. The funeral plans product group sits beneath this new sector, and at the most granular level is the pre-paid funeral plans product.

All data sets that we have published on our website prior to our Q2 2022/23 data release remain aligned with previous versions of the taxonomy that existed before this update.

September 2022

We updated the taxonomy for the mortgages, investment, and pensions sectors, including merging some of the products together in the mortgages sector and the investment sector for simplification. We also expanded the range of products and product groups in the ‘pensions and annuities’ sector.

August 2021 

We made updates to our taxonomy throughout 2020/21 to enable us to report in more detail on products relevant to, or impacted by, the Covid-19 pandemic. These include products such as emergency loans for businesses (rather than simply commercial lending) and wedding insurance (rather than simply special event insurance). 

August 2020

We made significant changes to our taxonomy in response to feedback from stakeholders and to better reflect the range of complaints we see, including updates to all sectors within the taxonomy. Our Q1 2020/21 complaints data release was the first set of data to be published under that taxonomy.

Before this point, our taxonomy contained 120 different products and services split into 19 product groups. Our update increased this number to 216, split into 33 product groups, providing more granular insight into the complaints handled by our service.

When we publish our complaints data

We regularly publish sets of complaints data on our website, including the following. 

Quarterly complaints data

Data on the financial products and services people have complained about, published on a quarterly basis over the course of a financial year.

See our quarterly complaints data

Half-yearly complaints data

We publish complaints data about financial businesses every six months, showing the number of complaints received about individual businesses in that period.

The taxonomy used in our half-yearly complaints data releases differs from that which we use in our other complaints data releases. As outlined in our policy statement of March 2009 (PDF 237KB) on the publication of complaint data, we considered that it would be helpful to all our stakeholders if we provided a break-down of the data according to the same major product groups that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – then known as the Financial Services Authority (FSA) – intended to use for complaints-reporting from August 2009. 

Therefore, the number of new or resolved complaints against individual businesses in our half-yearly data, is not directly comparable with our quarterly and annual data on products and services. 

See our half-yearly complaints data

Annual complaints data

Our annual complaints data is a review of our work over the course of a full financial year. It shows the volume of complaints we received and resolved, and the proportion of complaints we upheld in consumers’ favour.

See our annual complaints data

Other complaints data we publish

We publish a range of data separately to our annual data and quarterly data on financial products, and half-yearly data on financial businesses.

See our other complaints data