Complaints against providers of investment products in the UK declined for the second consecutive six-month period in the first half of 2018, bucking the trend for the wider financial services sector, which saw the fourth successive half year of complaints, leading to a new record level of 4.1 million.
The Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) latest publication of complaints data, which firms are required to provide twice a year, shows investment products accounted for just 2% of all complaints in the first half of the year.
Only 51% of investment products complaints were upheld in both 2017 H2 and 2018 H1, the lowest for any product group, while the amount paid out in redress fell from £35m in the second half of 2017 and £47m at the same time last year to just £27m in the first half of 2018.
The average paid out per upheld complaint about investment products has also fallen dramatically to £710 from £1,364 in the first half of 2017.
In the firm-specific breakdown of the data, the most notable wealth and asset management offenders were St James's Place (SJP), Old Mutual Wealth Life & Pensions, Invesco, F&C Management and Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management.
SJP saw one complaint per 1,000 customers and upheld 83.2% of all complaints, while Old Mutual Wealth upheld 85.2% of the 2.2 complaints per 1,000 customers it received.
Invesco Fund Managers had 3.8 complaints per 1000 customers, only 30.3% of which were upheld.
Meanwhile, F&C saw 3.3 complaints per 1,000 customers, of which it upheld 53.2%, and Hargreaves Lansdown upheld 51.2% of the 0.2 per 1,000 customer complaints it received.
In the wider financial services sector, the increase in complaints was attributed to the ongoing issue with PPI redress as well as several high-profile cases of disruption to retail banking services in the first half of the year.
Around half of the overall increase in other complaints excluding PPI was due to complaints about TSB made by banking and credit.
Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said: "Firms need to be doing all that they can to reduce complaints.
"It is clear that firms need to look at the cause of the rise in complaints and address these issues to prevent further increases.
"It should be a priority for firms to ensure good consumer outcomes are achieved and they should be making sure that they are taking the right steps to treat customers fairly."
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