On 20 August 2018, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) published an update to their 2016 complaints data consultation. Responses to the 2016 consultation suggested a measure of new cases per 100 FCA-reportable complaints, a “referral rate”. This would require using the FCA’s published complaints data alongside the FOS’ own to calculate the percentage of complaints received by a financial business that were then referred to the Ombudsman Service. In their feedback statement, the FOS agreed to investigate the reference rate.

In assessing the viability of calculating the referral rate, the FOS noted several issues:

  • some products are categorised under different product groups to the FCA. In order to address this, businesses would need to provide the FOS with complaints data on several products on a voluntary basis in order to make the calculations possible – something deemed overly complicated; and
  • a number of consumer credit businesses are only required to report complaints data to the FCA annually, which would make it impossible to calculate an average referral rate for a six month reporting period.

The FOS concludes the referral rate does not meet the tests outlined in the 2016 consultation – that any new measure must be easy to understand and simple to administer. Subsequently, the referral rate is considered not suitable for inclusion in the FOS’ complaints data publications.