We publish complaints data every six months for firm returns with a half-year period ending between 1 January and 30 June (H1) and between 1 July and 31 December (H2).
We collect complaints data from firms to enable us to monitor:
- the number of complaints that firms receive
- how this changes over time
- which products or services people have complained about the most
We use the data to help assess how well firms are treating their customers and how their performance changes over time. We also use the data to guide our work in supervising firms and markets, and to highlight potential concerns with products.
Firms have 8 weeks after receiving a complaint to provide a written response to the complaint. This must either be a final response or an explanation of why the firm is not able to provide a final response, and an indication of when it expects to do so. Where the firm makes a final decision to accept, reject or offer redress without accepting the complaint, it records the complaint as closed.
If the complainant remains dissatisfied with the response then they can refer their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Each firm reports their data to us in line with their own reporting cycle on a six-monthly basis, or annually for smaller consumer credit firms, so reporting periods can vary between firms. Each firm’s reporting period can be viewed on the firm-specific pages for those that are required to publish their data.
We collect and publish data at both an aggregate (market level) and firm level. We only publish firm-specific data for firms reporting:
- 500 or more complaints in a half-year period
- 1,000 or more complaints for consumer credit firms, if these firms report to us annually
Firms exceeding these thresholds must also publish complaints data on their websites.
Data policy changes from 2016 H2 (1 July to 31 December 2016)
Following changes to our complaints handling rules in December 2015, and as outlined in PS15/19, the complaints data reported to us by firms has changed. As a result, the new data is not fully comparable to historic data previously published.
Our published aggregate, or total, complaints data does not include data for consumer credit related complaints. We have published firm specific information about consumer credit complaints where firms have published this information themselves or granted us permission to do so. From the period starting 30 June 2016, our complaints data covers the following 4 areas (the precise scope of the complaints reporting rules can be found in the FCA Handbook - DISP 1.10):
- Volume of complaints opened (or received) by product, type of firm and cause of complaint:
Volume of complaints data can be mapped to 50 different product categories (for example credit cards) which are then combined into 5 product groups (for example banking and credit cards). Further details on the classifications may be found on the final page under the notes tab of the downloadable table.
- Handling complaints:
Our published data shows the proportion of complaints addressed by firms within three separate periods: within 3 days of the complaint being received, between 3 days and 8 weeks of the complaint being received and then over 8 weeks of the complaint being received. Additional data relating to the proportion of complaints upheld by firms (where the firm agrees with the complainant) is also published.
- Redress paid (compensation payments by firms to complainants):
The redress paid figure presents the monetary compensation paid to complainants by firms during the related half-year period. Please note that the data only accounts for where a cash value payment is easily identifiable and it does not include other areas of redress, such as extending the length of cover provided by an insurance policy. It also excludes redress paid which does not relate directly to complaints. For example, the data may not include redress paid as a result of us taking legal action or where firms undertake a review of past business that leads to compensation payments.
- Context data:
There more business a firm or market undertakes, there is a higher potential for more complaints to be raised. Accordingly, we require firms to provide their total number of opened complaints divided by the number of accounts or policies currently in force, producing the context figure (detailed below). These context figures provide a more well-rounded comparison of the complaints data between a firm and the market by taking a firm’s size into account. This data is then split into five product categories and published at firm level for those firms receiving 500 or more complaints within a reporting period. They are then split depending on whether a firm provides an account or policy (for example, a bank or insurance provider - 'Context A' on our firm specific tables) or sells the product as an intermediary (for example, a financial adviser or insurance broker - 'Context B' on our firm specific tables). Currently this information is not mandatory for credit related complaints.
The type of context measure is dependent on the form of business undertaken by a firm or the type of complaints they received. Certain firms may submit both types of context data if they perform a variety of business functions. When submitting context data, firms are required to provide either:
- A provision measure (the total number of accounts or insurance policies a firm maintains for customers within the reporting period divided by the number of policies or accounts in force per 1,000).
- An intermediation measure (the number of products sold to, advised on or arranged for on behalf of a firm’s customers within the reporting period divided by the number products sold per 1,000).
How you can view the context data
The data has been published via interactive and sortable tables based on the aggregate number of complaints received by product regarding the reported volumes of accounts or policies in force. Please note that where a firm has reported less than 500 complaints within a half-year period, they are not required to provide details of the provision measure by product; the figures included in the data are from those firms reporting 500 or more complaints within the period. These firms represent around 98% of all reported complaints. In comparison, the volume of complaints data opened is used from all firms when calculating the context measure.
Payment Protection Insurance (PPI)
In August 2011, our predecessor organisation, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) began publishing separate figures showing how firms are dealing with PPI (payment protection insurance) complaints.
It is important to note that the PPI redress data solely relate to PPI complaints whereas the aggregate complaints data published here includes a wider product group of 'general insurance and pure protection' (refer to Note 1 of the downloadable table for the products within each product group).
To provide a more detailed analysis of complaints handling data, each firm's data have been linked to our own categorisation of firm type (for example retail bank or asset management). For information on how firms have been grouped by firm portfolio, see notes in the downloadable table. This provides the analysis by firm type shown for both the volumes and complaints handling data.
A caveat to this analysis is that such categorisation may not be wholly representative of a firm’s other significant functions. Therefore, this analysis does not provide a perfect match of the complaints handling information and the type of business to which it relates. This issue can also affect the change in reported complaints figures in each category between half-year periods, as firms may switch from one category to another.
Financial Ombudsman Service
In addition to the complaints data we publish, the Financial Ombudsman Service also publishes complaints data on a quarterly, half-yearly and annual basis, that may be viewed in conjunction with our data as an indicator of how firms handle complaints. Further insight may be found on the Financial Ombudsman Service’s website.
Please note that the two data sets cannot be wholly compared as our data includes all complaints received by firms whereas the Financial Ombudsman Service’s data only includes complaints referred to them when the consumer and firm do not agree on a resolution.
There may be significant time delays between firms initially considering a complaint and the resulting referral to the Financial Ombudsman Service. This may mean that a new complaint may appear as open in our data for a specific period and appear as a new complaint in the Financial Ombudsman Service’s data for another.
The aggregate complaints data is classed as Official Statistics. Official Statistics are defined as statistics, or data, produced by the (UK) Statistics Boards and government departments such as executive agencies (amongst others), and any other person acting on behalf of the Crown as designated by an order made by the Secretary of State’ as per clause 6 Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. Under the Schedule in Art 3(1) of the Official Statistics Order 2010, the FCA is held as a designated body of which the 2007 Act applies.