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annual review 2006/07

1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007

about this document

this publication contains facts, figures and information covering our workload and complaints trends - for the year April 2006 to March 2007

key facts about the Financial Ombudsman Service

  • We were set up under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 to help settle individual disputes between businesses providing financial services and their customers - fairly, reasonably, quickly and informally.
  • We can consider complaints about a wide range of financial matters - from insurance and mortgages to investments and bank accounts.
  • We are completely independent and impartial - just as a judge would be, if the consumer went to court instead.
  • If a business can't resolve a customer's complaint, we'll see if we can settle the dispute. But the business must first have the chance to sort things out itself.
  • Our service is free to consumers.
  • Consumers do not have to accept any decisions we make. They are always free to go to court instead. But if they accept an ombudsman's decision, it is binding on both them and the business.
  • We do not write the rules for businesses providing financial services - or fine them if rules are broken. That is the job of the regulator.
  • Our service is confidential - we do not publish the names of businesses or consumers whose complaints we handle.
  • We cannot give personal advice about financial matters or debt problems. But we actively share our knowledge and experience with the outside world - to help consumers and businesses settle problems themselves and to help prevent the need for complaints in the first place.

key figures about the Financial Ombudsman Service

  • We handled 627,814 initial enquiries and complaints from consumers - of which 1 in 6 turned into cases requiring the involvement of our adjudicators and ombudsmen.
  • More than 8 out of 10 of the financial services businesses we cover had no disputes referred to the ombudsman service.
  • Half of the total number of cases we dealt with related to ten of the UK's largest financial services groups.
  • We saw a 47% increase in banking-related cases, a 10% increase in insurance-related cases, and a 21% decrease in cases involving investments other than mortgage endowments.
  • We received 46,134 new mortgage endowment complaints - around 175 new cases every working day, compared with 250 cases a day in the previous year.
  • We resolved 111,673 cases - 94% of which were settled informally, without the need for formal ombudsman decisions.
  • We resolved over half of all disputes about banking, insurance and investments other than mortgage endowments within three months; and two-thirds of mortgage endowment cases within nine months.
  • We operated on a budget of £59 million and our total number of staff averaged 960.
  • We provided information and handled enquiries in over 20 different languages and formats - from Arabic to Welsh and Braille to audiotape/CD.
  • We took part in conferences, roadshows, trade-fairs and consumer-events at least twice every week.
  • We handled 610 parliamentary and ministerial enquiries, over 4,000 media calls and 18,000 specialist enquiries to our technical advice desk.

All figures relate to the year ended 31 March 2007.

an overview of our case-handling process

627,814 initial enquiries and complaints
handled by our front-line customer contact division

94,392 new cases
referred to our adjudicators and ombudsmen for further dispute-resolution work

104,831 cases resolved by our adjudicators
by mediation, recommended settlements and adjudications

6,842 cases resolved by our ombudsmen
making formal decisions at the final "appeal" stage of our dispute-resolution process

All figures relate to the year ended 31 March 2007.

image of annual review 2007

...the independent experts in settling financial disputes

... settling disputes without taking sides

This annual review is published in accordance with paragraph 7 of schedule 17 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.