Channel Islands Ombudsman sees mis-selling complaints spike

Channel Islands Ombudsman sees mis-selling complaints spike

The Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman service has reported a spike in the percentage of claims it has been receiving which have been deemed to warrant further investigation, it has been revealed.

The Ombudsman Service, or CIFO, which is based in Jersey but also covers Guernsey, Sark and Alderney, said it had received some 1,375 complaints during its first full year in operation, of which 1,133 had been closed.

Of the complaints received, 231, or around 17% of the total, were found to merit further investigation by the ombudsman.

However, figures for the final three months of 2016 showed that the number of complaints found to be worthy of further investigation grew to 40% of the total, or 90 out of the 223 complaints opened between the end of October and the end of December.

The CIFO was launched towards the end of 2015 as part of an effort to give members of the public who feel they have been wronged, mislead or victimised over financial matters with an alternative to going to court.

The independent service has been designed to be informal, confidential and free, according to its website, and legal representation is not required for those who wish to use it.

Principal ombudsman Douglas Melville told the Jersey Evening Post: “The last three months of 2016 were a busy period, particularly for new complaints about investments and issues of mis-selling.”

The CFO says that although the majority of the complaints it’s received thus far have not been regarded as serious enough to investigate further, the recent spike in the number that have been passed to the ombudsman’s further investigations team, since October last year, could be a concern.