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Hargreaves tops FCA's investments complaints list

by Danielle Levy on Apr 09, 2014 at 09:30

Hargreaves tops FCA's investments complaints list

Hargreaves Lansdown has topped the FCA's list of consumer complaints in the investments category during the second half of 2013.

Barclays attracted the most complaints at a firm level over the same period, according to FCA data. Barclays attracted 310,000 complaints between July and December 2013, albeit a 17% fall on the first half of 2013. Lloyds came second with 257,000, representing a 1% fall on the previous half. MBNA was fourth with 213,000, down 10%, while the FCA received 181,000 complaints about Bank of Scotland, an 18% decrease on the first half.

Hargreaves, led by Ian Gorham (pictured), received just under 3,200 complaints between July and December 2013 concerning investments and was followed by Barclays Stockbrokers with 1,799. Santander was a close third with 1,791. Financial Administration Services was forth with 1,540 and HSBC came fifth with 1,480.

Skandia MultiFunds also made an appearance on the FCA's investments complaints list with over 500 opened during the second half, while TD Direct Investing also attracted over 800. 

On a positive note, total complaints filed fell 15% compared to the 2.9 million reported during the first half of the year.

Martin Wheatley, FCA chief executive, said: 'No firm wants to top this particular list and they all should be striving to ensure that customers are being treated fairly and not given cause to complain. This is an indication that firms seem to be putting customers at the heart of their business, however, there is clearly more for us all to do to show consumers their interests come first.'

8 comments so far. Why not have your say?


Apr 09, 2014 at 10:24

So Hargreaves are racking up around 17 investment complaints a day. However, apart from inferring that there are a lot of unhappy bunnies, this is an unhelpful statistic - in that it doesn't tell us whether there is a common catalyst to these complaints.

What is the point of arbitrary naming and shaming, without detail. Maybe they're just complaining about Ian's bonus payments?

By the way, is Wheatley commenting on this story, or last week's incompetence by the FCA?

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A Bit Left Field

Apr 09, 2014 at 10:45

it would be more helpful if the complaints were shown as a percentage of their total clients. I only have 100 clients; if one of them were to complain, my stats would be horrible right away.

Aren't Hargreaves also the biggest IFA and therefore statistically likely to have the highest number of complaints? What percentage of their clients complain?

Aren't Barclays one of the biggest banks? Being named as having the highest number of overall complaints suggests they're normal - but are they? It would be interesting to find out.

Also, the fines handed out don't seem to be acting as a deterrent even though they're mind boggling. Just how much profit are these firms making from breaking the rules? Perhaps being straight is under-valued and press/FCA attacks on adviser fees should look at that as they're under-mining the industry to the advantage of the rule-breakers.

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r rodney

Apr 09, 2014 at 11:31

YES interesting....listen up FCA. The comment by Financeplanner is entirely relevant. We should be given a breakdown of the individual complaints. I for one have taken several issues to HL more out of courtesy and helpful expedition than bolshie complaining.. my issues have been more towards the website and the informational side provided to clients. I am forever seeing ways to improve the display of information and probably asking for too much but I never feel HL have a blind bit of interest in converting queries and suggestions into actual practice. This is a tough environment now for the fund supermarkets and as we the clients are more savvy now, so we need more sophisticated and (yes speedy) tools to make decisions. I would like to see if that issue (website informational content) is a main complaint.

I can see that HL will come high up the list because of client numbers but actually I cant see them having having that many complaints based on the usual sort of issues like call centre issues. Ive always found them very efficient if a little formal and straight jacketed. I suspect that size becomes an issue and control and user interface is lost. Just look at BT and Talk Talk...

So the simple proclamation of complaints by number is really meaningless if we are to learn anything.

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A Bit Left Field

Apr 09, 2014 at 11:51

r rodney

The FCA deal with regulatory complaints only so these statistics are unlikely to cover the issues you outline.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Apr 09, 2014 at 12:16

Hargreaves run a tight ship and there is usually someone well informed and helpful to answer telephone inquiries. Having said that, they did get into the mire or worse still on the Royal Mail sale when they simply could not cope and I suspect there are a few complaints coming through on the clean share class switch which has complicated things somewhat. Full marks for to Hargreaves for requests to match other D2C platform charges.

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Grumpy OAP

Apr 09, 2014 at 12:54

@Anon - what does "Full marks for to Hargreaves for requests to match other D2C platform charges" mean?

Are they offering non-standard terms to customers?

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Peter Barrett

Apr 09, 2014 at 15:04

I find HL probably the most courteous, efficient and knowledgeable company I have ever dealt with.

My only gripe was the Royal Mail disaster when for a whole they were totally unobtainable by internet or telephone.

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Apr 11, 2014 at 10:23

I believe that any expression of dissatisfaction should be treated as a complaint. I am not surprised that in a six month period, there may have been 3200 expressions of dissatisfaction. The HL model, successful though it may be, is not quite the bargain to its clients that it seems.

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