FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Who must be affiliated to a FinSA ombudsman office?

  • Financial services providers and client advisors as defined under the Financial Services Act (FinSA).
  • Financial institutions as defined under the Financial Institutions Act (FinIA).
  • Trade Essayers as defined under the Precious Metals Control Act (PMCA).

How many FinSA ombudsman offices can there be ?

The number of ombudsman offices will depend on whether financial services providers and financial institutions choose to centralise with one ombudsman office or they decide to create several new ombudsman offices.

The World Bank has already observed a trend towards centralisation, since 2012, notably to reduce the risk of a small number of proceedings per ombudsman office. The World Bank warns of the dangers of putting offices in competition.

In Switzerland, it is rare for a sector to have more than one mediation body : https://www.ch.ch/en/ombudsman-service/

What are the other activities of the FinSA ombudsman office?

In addition to mediation (Art. 74 FinSA), a mediation body recognised by the FDF publishes an annual activity report (Art. 86 FinSA), decides on the admission or exclusion of a company, informs and exchanges information within the framework of market supervision (Art. 83 and 88 FinSA).

In what language is mediation conducted?

The proceedings are conducted in the official language of the Swiss Confederation chosen by the client unless the parties make alternative arrangements that comply with the ombudsman’s rules of procedure.

Who funds the ombudsman office and the mediation proceedings?

Irrespective of the number of proceedings, financial service providers, client advisors and financial institutions (“companies”) must finance the provision of infrastructure and core staff who are available and capable of conducting mediation proceedings in the languages provided for or agreed upon.

According to the principle of causality, each provider involved in a mediation procedure shall cover the costs of the procedure. The mediation procedure should be inexpensive or even free of charge for the client.

Companies thereby finance the ombudsman office to which they are affiliated, including initial capital, working capital and procedural costs.

Can a branch organisation affiliate in place of its members ?

It is not possible for a branch organisation to affiliate in place of its members. This would pose a problem for the fulfilment of the information and supervision duties of the ombudsman office, which are part of its legal mandate. Affiliation must be made in the name of each affiliated financial service provider, irrespective of whether or not it belongs to a group of affiliated financial service providers.