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annual review 2013/2014

1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014

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’s 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 look into a complaint, we listen carefully to both sides of the story and weigh up all the facts.
  • Our job is to give honest answers. 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 don’t 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 are not the regulator. We don’t write the rules for financial businesses - or fine them if rules are broken.
  • Everyone can learn something from complaints - so that what’s 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 and build confidence.

key figures

  • We handled 2,357,374 initial enquiries and complaints from consumers -
    almost 8,000 each working day.
  • Around one in five of the initial consumer enquiries we received turned into a formal dispute - a record 512,167 new cases.
  • 78% of new cases were about the sale of payment protection insurance (PPI), with the number of PPI complaints rising 6% to 399,939.
  • Complaints about “packaged” bank accounts increased by more than threefold, while complaints about credit cards went down by 47%.
  • Complaints about investments and insurance remained at broadly similar levels to the last two years.
  • 63% of the total number of cases we dealt with related to four banking groups - while 4,504 financial businesses accounted for just 3% of our caseload.
  • We resolved a record 518,778 cases - resulting in compensation for consumers in 58% of complaints.
  • For cases other than PPI, we resolved 44% of complaints within three months.
  • We operated on a cost base of £223 million with 3,526 employees at the end of the year.
  • We took part in over 250 seminars, roadshows, exhibitions and events.
  • We answered over 600 enquiries from parliamentarians and 24,551 calls to our technical advice desk - our free, expert helpline for businesses and advice workers.
  • We featured in 6,000 media stories - and 77% of adults in the UK said they were aware of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

All figures relate to the financial year 2013/2014.

an overview of how we handle cases

2,357,374 initial enquiries and complaints

handled by our frontline customer-contact division

512,167 new cases

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

487,749 cases resolved by our adjudicators

through mediation, recommended settlements and adjudications

31,029 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 2013/2014.