Complaints against financial institutions fall

Banks and finance companies attracted 396 gripes or 44 per cent of the total complaints made to the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre (Fidrec) between July last year and June this year.
Banks and finance companies attracted 396 gripes or 44 per cent of the total complaints made to the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre (Fidrec) between July last year and June this year.PHOTO: ST FILE

Banks and finance companies drew most gripes, according to figures from Fidrec

Consumers were a lot less disgruntled with their financial institutions last year, going by the latest data available.

There were 893 complaints made to the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre (Fidrec) between July last year and June this year, down 23 per cent from the previous 12 months.

Most of the ire was directed at banks and finance companies, which attracted 396 gripes or 44 per cent of the total.

But that was 10 per cent less than the previous year.

Life insurers were next on 289 or 32 per cent of the overall complaints - 33 per cent below a year earlier.

There were 167 complaints about general insurers - a fall of 23 per cent.

Like the previous financial year, more than half of the complaints were related to the practices and policies of financial institutions while 36 per cent concerned market conduct, and 6 per cent were linked to service standards.

Most of the gripes centred on the provision of inappropriate advice, misrepresentation or disclosure issues.

For the banks, finance companies, life and general insurers as well as capital markets services licensees, disputes over liabilities also featured among the top complaints.

Fidrec received a total of 3,278 cases over the year, 16 per cent fewer than the previous year. Of this, 2,385 were inquiries and the other 893 were complaints.

Fidrec handled 1,373 complaints in all, including some from the previous year.

There were 1,042 cases resolved: 38 per cent within three months, 95 per cent within six months, and 99 per cent within nine months.

Fidrec said 683 were resolved through mediation, while 359 proceeded to adjudication but awards were made in only 26 of these.

Separately, Fidrec reported that its net loss in the 2017 financial year widened by 29 per cent to $156,441 despite revenue rising 5 per cent to $3.6 million.

This was offset by higher adjudicator fees, employee benefit expenses, professional fees and administrative costs. Total expenditures came to $3.7 million, up 5.7 per cent year on year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2017, with the headline 'Complaints against financial institutions fall'. Print Edition | Subscribe