Technical information on the aggregate data

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.

Changes to the data from 2016 H2 (1 July to 31 December)

This analysis does not currently cover complaints relating to consumer credit products. We hope to publish this data when all firms with credit related permissions are authorised. We have published firm specific information about consumer credit complaints where firms have published this information themselves or granted us permission to do so.

Following changes to our rules in December 2015, as outlined in PS15/19, the data firms report to us on their complaints changed. As a result, the data is not fully comparable to historic data we published. From the period starting 30 June 2016, the data covers the following four areas (the precise scope of the complaints reporting rules are set out in the FCA Handbook - see DISP 1.10):

  • Volume of complaints opened (or received) according to product, type of firm and cause of the complaint. Firms report the volumes according to 50 different product categories (e.g. credit cards),. These product categories can be combined into five different product groups (e.g. Banking and credit cards). The classifications can be found in the notes tab in the final page of the downloadable table.
  • Complaints handling – the data shows the proportion of complaints addressed and the proportion resolved within three days or within eight weeks. We also collect data on the proportion of complaints upheld by firms (i.e. where the firm agrees with the complainant).
  • Redress paid (compensation payments by firms to complainants) – this shows the redress paid for complaints during the stated six-month period. These figures only cover cases where a cash value can be easily identified. It does not include other types of redress, such as extending the 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 - the more business a firm or market undertakes the higher potential there is for complaints to be raised. As a result, we require firms to send us the number of opened complaints and they are also required to divide them, for example, by the number of accounts, or policies in force (detailed below). This can then enable a better comparison of complaints between firms and markets as it takes their 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.

To provide context, firms are required to submit either:

  • a ‘provision’ measure (the total number of accounts or insurance policies a firm maintains for customers at the end of the reporting period)
  • or an intermediation measure (the number of products they sell, advise or arrange for customers within the half-year reporting period)

This will depend on the type of business a firm undertakes or the type of complaints they receive. Some firms may submit both types of measures if they are undertaking both types of business.

We have produced interactive sortable tables for the aggregate number of complaints received by product, in terms of reported volumes and in the context of accounts or policies in force. Please note, because firms reporting less than 500 complaints are not required to provide us with details of provision figures by product, the provision figures used are those from firms reporting 500 or more complaints. These firms represent around 97% of all complaints reported. The volume of complaints opened, used to calculate the context figure, includes data from all firms.

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 include 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 (e.g. 'bank' or 'discretionary investment manager'). For information on how firms have been grouped by primary category, see note 2 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 periods, as firms may switch from one category to another.

Our aggregate complaints data is official statistics. Official statistics is defined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 as statistics produced by (amongst others) the (UK) Statistics Board, government departments including executive agencies, and any person designated by an order made by the Secretary of State. We are designated as a body to which the 2007 Act applies by the Official Statistics Order 2010.