The FOS figures record the number of enquires made by members of the public, followed by the number of new cases it opens. Not all new cases are passed to an ombudsman for a final decision.
The rise in enquires saw a 26.8% increase in new Sipp cases between the third and fourth quarters of 2018, but the percentage of Sipp cases referred to an ombudsman dropped to 59% from 62%, quarter on quarter.
Record year for Sipp complaints
Caroline Wayman, chief ombudsman and chief executive of the FOS, told International Adviser: “Self-invested personal pensions can give consumers more control over how and where their pension funds are invested.
“However, we have already seen more complaints about Sipps this financial year than we did in the whole of the previous year.
“Decisions about pensions are some of the most difficult choices people make, and it’s important that you understand the risks involved when investing your pension pot. If you’re unhappy with the outcome of your complaint, we can help sort things out.”
There was not only a rise in cases about Sipps, according to the FOS.
New portfolio management cases rose to 269 in Q4 from 203 in the previous period.
There was also an increase of 10 ombudsman referrals about portfolio management to 69 between October and December 2018.
Across all complaint categories, the FOS received 3,186 enquiries and took on 2,802 new cases between April 2018 and December 2018, with 579 cases referred to an ombudsman, of which 60% were upheld.