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Isle of Man Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme 30 July 2008

The Isle of Man is part of a global finance industry and is proud to have achieved international recognition for the high quality of its financial services and the effectiveness of its regulatory environment and compensation arrangements.

The Isle of Man Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme (the Scheme) plays a major role within the overall protection that the Island offers to consumers and is the only such scheme operating in the British offshore islands.

While the Scheme plays an important part in confirming the Island’s international reputation as a high quality and reliable provider of financial services, the Scheme is open to local residents.

The Scheme, which is operated by the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading, is a free, independent dispute resolution service for individuals with an unresolved complaint against an Isle of Man financial firm such as a bank, insurance company or financial adviser. Commercial entities are deemed to have the wherewithal to use traditional redress routes.

From 1st August 2008 the legislation under which the Scheme is established changes from the Financial Supervision Act 1988 as amended by the Fair Trading (Amendment) Act 2001, to the Financial Services Act 2008. The major modifications to the Scheme resulting from this change are as follows:-

  1. The Adjudicators to the Scheme, including the Senior Adjudicator, will be appointed by the Appointments Commission, currently they are appointed by the Office of Fair Trading.
  2. If a complaint is submitted for formal determination by an Adjudicator either party, the complainant or financial provider, will have the right to request a review by the Senior Adjudicator of the Adjudicator’s provisional determination. The outcome of any such review will be binding on both parties. The only right of appeal against the final determination being to the High Court on a point of law. Currently no such right to review any Adjudicator’s determination exists.
  3. The Office of Fair Trading will, by means of an Order, be able to amend the scope of the financial services which fall under the remit of the Scheme. Although no changes to the financial services already covered by the Scheme are to be introduced at 1st August 2008, this position may be reviewed in future.

The change will also allow for the disclosure of information between the Scheme and other government bodies.

This new legislation applies to all unresolved cases already submitted to the Scheme and those submitted after 1st August 2008.

Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading Bill Henderson MHK commenting on the Scheme said

“The Scheme is a vital part of the Island’s consumer protection framework. The introduction of the Scheme has ensured that consumers have somewhere other than the courts to turn to when they have not been able to resolve a complaint with their financial service provider. These changes will allow the Office to expand the Scheme to other financial services should it prove necessary.”

More details of the Scheme can be found at www.gov.im/oft/ombudsman

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