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annual review 2012/2013

1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013

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 credit.
  • If a financial business isn't able to resolve a customer complaint, we can step in to settle the dispute. But the business must have the chance to sort things out itself first.
  • We are 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 a business has treated a consumer fairly, we explain why. But if we decide the business has acted wrongly, we can order matters to be put right.
  • Our service is free to consumers.
  • Consumers do not have to accept any decision we make. But if they accept an ombudsman's decision, it is binding on both them and the business.
  • We do not write the rules for financial businesses - or fine them if rules are broken. That is the job of the regulator.
  • Everyone can learn something from complaints - so that what has gone wrong in the past need not happen again. This is why we have a crucial role in sharing what we see - to help prevent future problems.

key figures

  • We handled 2,161,439 initial enquiries and complaints from consumers - over 7,000 each working day.
  • Around one in four of the initial consumer enquiries we received turned into a formal dispute - a record 508,881 new cases, up 92% on the previous year.
  • 74% of new cases were about the sale of payment protection insurance (PPI), with the number of PPI complaints rising 140% to 378,699.
  • Investment-related complaints increased by 33%, while banking disputes and complaints about insurance other than PPI rose by 20% - resulting in the highest ever numbers of these cases.
  • 62% of the total number of cases we dealt with related to four banking groups - while 4,819 businesses accounted for just 3% of our caseload.
  • We resolved 223,229 cases - resulting in compensation for consumers in 49% of complaints.
  • We resolved 58% of all disputes within six months - and 43% of non-PPI cases within three months.
  • We operated on a cost-base of £150 million with 2,600 employees at the end of the year.
  • We provided information and handled enquiries in over 50 different languages and formats.
  • We took part in over 150 seminars, roadshows, exhibitions and events.
  • We handled 574 parliamentary enquiries - and 23,381 calls to our technical advice desk, our dedicated service for professionals handling complaints in the financial services sector and the consumer-advice world.
  • We featured in 6,000 media stories (including over 550 broadcasts) - and 73% of adults in the UK said they were aware of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

All figures relate to the financial year 2012/2013.

an overview of how we handle cases

2,161,439 initial enquiries and complaints

handled by our frontline customer-contact division

508,881 new cases

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

198,897 cases resolved by our adjudicators

through mediation, recommended settlements and adjudications

24,332 cases resolved by our ombudsmen

making formal decisions at the final "appeal" stage of our dispute-resolution process

All figures relate to the financial year 2012/2013.