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Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme – public consultation 29 January 2007

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) would like to draw attention to a consultation process being carried out by the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC).

The Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme (FSOS) is managed by and operates out of the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading, whose staff provide a first stage of complaints handling, offering conciliation and mediation services. The Scheme is a free, independent dispute resolution service for individuals (commercial entities are deemed to have the wherewithal to use traditional redress routes) with an unresolved complaint against an Isle of Man financial firm such as a bank, insurance company or financial adviser.

The OFT has been working with the FSC to include proposals for changing that part of the Financial Services Act that covers the Scheme. The Financial Services Bill reflects the outcome of those discussions. (See clause 25 and Schedule 4 to the Bill.)

If enacted the new provisions would alter the Scheme and be amended to cover:-

  • The ability for the Scheme to be extended in the future to include different categories of financial services by means of a order made by the OFT
  • The ability for the Scheme to be extended in the future to enable complainants to be corporate bodies
  • Complaints may be declined if no financial loss has been suffered
  • The Scheme Adjudicators to be appointed by the“Appointments Commission” established under the Tribunals Act 2006 rather than by the OFT as now
  • The provision of formal “gateways” between the OFT and various other bodies for disclosure of information gathered in the course of any complaints investigation (see Schedule 5 to the Bill)
  • The ability for Adjudicators final determination to be subject to a general appeal to the High Court rather than an appeal on a point of law alone as now.

Existing and potential users of the FSOS service may not be aware that the consultation process also applies to the legislation that underpins the Scheme and the OFT would like to encourage any persons who wish to comment on the Scheme to do so.

A consultative paper outlining the contents of the Bill can be found on the Commission’s website at and the Bill (Appendix A to the paper) can be found at

Comments on the Bill should be sent to Ms Jane Bates, Head of Policy and Legal Unit at the Financial Supervision Commission by 12th February 2007.

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