More complaints were filed by consumers against Canada’s financial industry last year than ever recorded before, the Ombuds­man for Banking Services and Investments reports.

The national dispute resolution service says it opened 900 cases in 2009, a 48 per cent increase over the previous year.

That’s more than triple the number of cases filed over the last three years, the ombudsman says.

He notes that recently more filings have been made against the investment industry, instead of the banks, driven partly by the global economic downturn, which ravaged stock markets.

Ombudsman Douglas Melville said banking complaints often involved mortgage pre-payment pen­alties, lines of credit and fraud while on the investment side, the vast majority of cases were related to the suitability of investment advice.