“The ombudsman should be (and also be seen to be) as independent and impartial as a judge – as well as having the necessary legal and technical expertise to resolve financial disputes authoritatively. This needs to be reflected in the appointment and governance arrangements” – World Bank, 2012
FINSOM is the first and only Ombudsman Office in the Swiss financial sector that acts in the public interest while being independent from government as well as sector or branch organisations, chambers of commerce, financial service providers and mediator, consumer and labor protection associations or organisations. FINSOM meets both Swiss and international standards for mediation in the financial sector.
FINSOM is an association, governed by Articles 60 et seq. of the Swiss Civil Code and 74 et seq. of the Financial Services Act (FinSA).
The choice of legal form was made in order to avoid expenses of no added value, while at the same time guaranteeing a certain degree of protection for affiliated companies (Art. 69b III. para. 2 and 75 C. IV CC) subject to an obligation to affiliate and finance the mediation body.
FINSOM’s independence is, however, guaranteed by the passive members status of affiliated companies.
Not only is FINSOM a non-profit organisation, it is a tax-exempt association that does not engage in activities that pose a conflict of interest to the mediation. It also complies with international standards for mediation in the financial sector.
FINSOM is a legally and administratively independent entity. In particular, it is independent of the government, branch organisations, chambers of commerce and financial service providers. FINSOM is also fully independent from mediator, consumer and labor protection associations or organisations.
The General Assembly consists of a committee that guarantees the administrative independence of the mediation body and appoints the Director under the supervision of the Federal Department of Finance (FDF). The General Assembly and the Director must be independent of each other. In turn, the Director appoints and guarantees the independence of alternate Mediators under the supervision of the General Assembly.
FINSOM is fully financed by the affiliated companies in accordance with the applicable legal provisions.
FINSOM is comprised of professionals with expertise in investor protection and financial services, business administration and development, governance, risk management and internal control, law, financial market regulation and mediation. These professionals bring together the necessary skills and practical experience to ensure the technical competence of the mediation body in both administrative matters and mediation.
The General Assembly guarantees the technical skills of the Director, which also holds the function of Ombudsman. In turn, the Director guarantees the technical skills of alternate Mediators under the supervision of the General Assembly.