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FOS sees increase in consumers submitting own PPI complaints

The Financial Ombudsman Service last week revealed it had seen a shift away from the use of claims management companies, with half of payment protection insurance complaints referred directly by consumers.

The FOS has published its latest complaint data today showing the most complained about firms between 1 January and 30 June this year.

It received 135,170 new complaints over the first six months of the year, up 27 per cent on the previous six months. Of the total new complaints, 85,562 related to PPI.

FOS chief executive and chief ombudsman Natalie Ceeney says: “The volume of PPI complaints doubled in the first half of 2012 and has continued to increase since then, with up to 1,500 new cases now arriving each day.

“We have also seen an increasing shift towards consumers doing it themselves rather than using a claims manager, with up to half of all new complaints now coming directly from consumers without paid-for representation compared to less than 20 per cent a year ago.”

Lloyds Banking Group has emerged as the most complained about group in the first half of the year with 27,745 new complaints referred to the FOS. Barclays Bank was the most complained about individual business with 23,703 new complaints.

Over the same period, the FOS upheld 74 per cent of complaints against Lloyds TSB Bank and 53 per cent of complaints against Barclays Bank, with the bulk of complaints against both banks relating to PPI.

Among adviser firms Sesame had the most complaints referred to the FOS between January and June, with a total of 138 new complaints. Openwork had 100 new complaints referred to the FOS, St James’s Place had 47 new FOS complaints, Personal Touch had 44 complaints and Positive Solutions had 40.

Over the same period, the FOS upheld 31 per cent of complaints against Sesame, 19 per cent of complaints against Openwork and 27 per cent of complaints against SJP. It also upheld 32 per cent of complaints against Personal Touch and 49 per cent of PosSol complaints.

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Apple: a stellar technology story

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Apple recently announced the highest-ever recorded quarterly net profit ($18bn), with the sale of 74.4 million iPhones helping the company deliver $74.6bn of revenue for the quarter ending December 2014. These sales were largely driven by strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Highlights included Chinese iPhone sales doubling year-on-year and unit growth of 44% in the US — supposedly a well-penetrated market. Apple ended the quarter with $178bn in cash on its balance sheet, having generated a staggering $30bn in free cash flow during the quarter.

At Neptune, we have been long-term believers in the Apple story, and continue to hold the stock in a number of our portfolios based on the company’s long-term growth prospects. This is predicated on our belief that Apple has proved thus far that it can — unusually for a consumer electronics company — maintain high margins for a sustained period of time, even as adoption of new technology slows down and competitors produce similar-specification products.

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