By Max Clarke

The first half of the year saw a marked increase in complaints received by the Financial Services Authority, with Barclays emerging as the most complained about financial institution.

“It is no surprise to anyone within the financial services industry that complaints have risen again over the last 6 months,” commented Paul Clark, CEO of Charter UK. “Banks are now facing a ‘Perfect Storm’ in terms of how they sell their products in the future, formed of three different elements - PPI mis-selling, regulatory changes to complaints handling and the FSA’s tougher stance on overall financial regulation.”

Banks with the most accessible and transparent complaints strategies were also found to receive fewer complaints overall. This in turn, observes Kenn Taylor, Director of Financial Services at advisory firm, Navigant, feeds back into the level of services provided by a bank that a customer will use, boosting banks’ retail services.

"There is a correlation between increased satisfaction with this process and both retention and propensity to buy more products by those customers who have complained," he said.

Together banks received in excess of 800,000 complaints, with Barclays accounting for 251,563. This far outstrips the previously most complained about bank, Llyods, with 181,907.

Redress paid to back to customers, however, edged back to just over £409 million- a drop of more than 10% from the last half of 2010.

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