FoI reveals extent of FOS Ucis complaints


The Financial Ombudsman Service has received more than 1,500 complaints about unregulated collective investment schemes since new rules were introduced by the FCA in 2014.

Figures obtained by Money Marketing through a Freedom of Information request show the FOS has received 1,532 complaints about Ucis products since 1 January 2014, and 61 per cent of those complaints have been upheld.

The FCA introduced new rules in January 2014 banning the promotion of Ucis schemes to ordinary retail investors in the UK. However since then, Ucis scams have continued to plague the sector and the collapse of advice firms due to the recommendation of Ucis have burdened the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

The FoI shows that in the 2013/14 financial year the FOS opened 180 cases about Ucis for investigation, with an overall uphold rate of 86 per cent.

This is increased in the 2014/15 financial year – after the introduction of the new rules – to 616 cases being opened for investigation with 56 per cent of those being upheld.

This dropped slightly in 2015/16 to 565 cases opened, however 59 per cent of those cases were upheld.

So far in the current financial year, the FOS has opened 171 cases about Ucis for investigation with an overall uphold rate of 66 per cent.

Some of the Ucis enquiries received by the FOS may turn into complaints while others can be resolved without going through the complaints process. The FOS Ucis category also includes “other non-mainstream pooled investments”.

Yellowtail Financial Planning managing director Dennis Hall says consumers are still not familiar with how Ucis schemes are regulated.

He says: “I don’t think consumers are that clear. I suspect they see something as available to purchase as a product to be sold or bought in the UK and assume that it will have all the necessary protections. That is what they expect the regulator to be there for.

“I have not seen as many Ucis schemes being touted to me as an adviser. There is probably a bit more of a sense check that goes into these things before they are issued.”