Complaints received about financial advisers in the second half of 2019 were few and far between compared with other financial services categories, according to new figures.
Statistics released as part of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority’s Datacube revealed that 278 complaints received about advice businesses had been progressed between 1 July and 31 December 2019, with 203 complaints closed.
Of complaints received by AFCA about advice businesses, 60 per cent related to superannuation and 35 per cent to managed investments. The top most complained about advice groups were AMP Financial Planning, with 37 complaints progressed in the second half of the year; Australian Planning Services, with 28 complaints progressed; and Commonwealth Financial Planning, with 19 complaints progressed.
Within the broader investments and advice category, which includes product providers as well as advice businesses, 51.9 per cent of complaints related to hedging, derivatives and securities, while 26.7 per cent related to managed investments. There were 1,526 complaints progressed in this category over the second half of 2019 with 1,454 complaints closed.
AFCA chief operating officer Justin Untersteiner said the advice related complaints data showed improvement, while complaints about home loans had risen the most over the second half of 2019, with 2,201 complaints in total.
“There has been a dramatic increase in complaints about home loans. This increase has been driven by financial firms failing to respond to requests for assistance, the conversion of loans from interest only to principal and interest, and issues with responsible lending,” Mr Untersteiner said.
“The data also shows that we are getting very few complaints about financial advice, just 30 per month, and complaints against debt buyers or collectors rose by just 5 per cent.”
In the life insurance category, 583 complaints were progressed by AFCA in the six-month period and 495 were closed. The most complained about policy type was income protection, which attracted 38.9 per cent of total complaints, while the most complained about insurer was TAL with 81 complaints progressed.
Just 39 life insurance-related complaints were progressed about advice businesses, with 42 complaints closed over the period. The most complained about advice groups from a life insurance perspective were Commonwealth Financial Planning, Charter Financial Planning and AMP Financial Planning.
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