Ombudsman Office Project
In June 2018, Switzerland adopted the Financial Services Act (FinSA), the Financial Institutions Act and revisions to the Precious Metals Control Act, introducing an obligation for several "professionals" to be affiliated to a Mediation Body (or "Ombudsman Office") recognised by the Federal Department of Finance (FDF). The new dispositions came into force on 1st January 2020.
At this time, the FDF has not yet formally recognised any Mediation Body - no legal mandate has yet been officially given by the Swiss government in accordance with art. 84 FinSA. Some delay is to be expected.
As soon as the FDF recognises an appropriate Mediation Body, professionals will have the obligation to:
be affiliated to an Ombudsman Office within 6 months. The deadline is respected with the filing of the application ;
inform their clients of the option to attempt an Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedure (ADR);
participate in the procedure, if requested by the Mediation Body;
finance the Ombudsman Office (including its creation) and the procedure according to financial contributions approved by the FDF.
Who is FINSOM?
The Financial Services Ombudsman (FINSOM) is a public utility association, initiated by volunteers.
FINSOM objective is to establish an independent, impartial, competent, transparent and available Ombudsman Office who adds value not only to the protection of investors but also contributes to fair and loyal competition amongst competitors.
In pursuit of this objective, FINSOM proposes to create a single Ombudsman Office in addition to the existing two Ombudsman Offices of the financial market, that is dedicated the para-banking sector.
FINSOM submitted a project plan for the creation of a new Ombudsman Office to the FDF, end of November 2019, and is awaiting a decision.
A single Ombudsman Office dedicated to financial services
A single Ombudsman Office offers multiple advantages such as:
the best guarantee of independence;
transparency, accessibility and simplicity;
an efficient exchange of information with the supervisory authorities;
an added value of the public annual report;
an efficient supervision of the Ombudsman Offices by the FDF;
contributing to the international competitivity of the Swiss financial sector.
Here, you will find an article (available in French only) addressing important risks associated with setting up a Mediation Body under FinSA, considered in the design of the FINSOM project.
By law and the nature of its activities, the creation and running costs of one or more additional Ombudsman Offices will be financed by the affiliated professionals, either before the 1st January 2020 or after.
The following persons support FINSOM's objective to create a single Ombudsman Office of public utility, transparent, accessible and dedicated to financial services and compliant with international standards, that offers the best conditions for independence, impartiality, technical skill and cost efficiency:
If you share FINSOM's objectives and would like to guarantee the creation of a single Ombudsman Office, please contact us!