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annual review 2015/2016

1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016

about this document

This annual review contains facts, figures and information about the work we have done - and the trends we have seen - over the last financial year.

key facts

  • We were set up under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 to resolve individual disputes between consumers and financial businesses - fairly, reasonably, quickly and informally.
  • We handle complaints about all kinds of money matters - from insurance and mortgages to savings and payday loans.
  • If a financial business isn’t able to resolve a customer complaint, we can step in to settle the dispute. But the business should have the chance to sort things out itself first.
  • We’re independent and impartial. When we decide a complaint, we look carefully at both sides of the story and weigh up all the facts.
  • If we decide the business has treated its customer fairly, we’ll explain why. But if we decide the business has acted wrongly, we can order it to put matters right.
  • Our service is free to consumers.
  • Consumers don’t have to accept any decision we make. But if they accept an ombudsman’s decision, it’s binding both on them and the business.
  • We don’t write the rules for financial businesses - or fine them if rules are broken. That’s the job of the regulator.
  • Everyone can learn something from complaints - so that what’s gone wrong in the past needn’t happen again. This is why we have a crucial role in sharing what we see - to help prevent future problems.

key figures

  • We answered 1,631,955 enquiries from consumers - over 5,000 each working day. 
  • We took on one in five of these enquiries for a more detailed investigation - a total of 340,899 new complaints.
  • We resolved 438,802 complaints - almost 100,000 more than we received. 
  • 75% of people whose complaints we resolved rated us positively. And of those who felt they hadn’t got the outcome they’d hoped for, 57% still gave us positive feedback - a rise of 16% on last year.
  • 56% of new complaints were about the sale of payment protection insurance (PPI) - 188,712 complaints overall. 
  • Excluding PPI, we resolved two thirds of complaints within three months. 
  • Complaints about packaged bank accounts more than doubled - while complaints about credit broking fell by more than half.
  • More than half of the total number of complaints we dealt with involved four banking groups - while 4,076 financial businesses accounted for just 3% of complaints.
  • The proportion of people from an unskilled background (the DE socio-economic group) who used our service rose by just under half.
  • Overall awareness of the ombudsman continued to rise - with nearly nine in ten people having some awareness of our service.
  • We operated on a cost base of £257.9 million with 3,676 employees at the end of the year.
  • More than nine in ten of the businesses and consumer advisers who met us face to face agreed they got clear, useful answers to take back to their organisation.

an overview of how we handle cases

1,631,955 initial enquiries and complaints

handled by our frontline customer-contact division

340,899 new cases

referred to our adjudicators and ombudsmen for further dispute-resolution work

438,802 cases resolved by our adjudicators

through mediation, recommended settlements and adjudications

All figures relate to the financial year 2015/2016.