Basic Rules

General Principle

Once Financial Services Act (FinSA) enters into force on 1st January 2020, disputes between financial services providers and their clients should be resolved, if possible, through an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure.

4 Conditions to access

request for ADR is admissible at any time, if:

  • It is submitted using the form provided by the Ombudsman Office or in compliance with its guidelines.

  • The client can demonstrate that direct negotiation has been attempted.

  • The request does not appear abusive and the dispute has not yet been mediated.

  • No conciliation, judicial proceeding or arbitration has been initiated.


The Ombudsman Offices verifies the conditions for admission and decides freely upon the requests for ADR without: 


  • Being subject to any third party directives.

  • Forming an opinion on the merits of the underlying dispute.

Rules of Procedure

The ADR procedure is subject to the following rules: 

  • The Ombudsman mandated by the Ombudsman Office must be qualified and independent. Like the Ombudsman Office, the Ombudsmen cannot be subject to third party directives.

  • The ADR procedure must be non-bureaucratic, fair, fast, impartial and at low cost, if not free of charge for clients

  • The ADR procedure is confidential. The statements made by the parties in the ADR procedure and the correspondence between one of the parties and the mandated Ombudsman may not be used in another proceeding. The parties have no right to consult the correspondence between the mandated Ombudsman and the opposing party.​


  • The procedure takes place in an official language of the Confederation chosen by the client. Parties may contractually agree on another language as long as it does not interfere with the rules of procedure.

  • If no agreement can be found or if the conclusion of an agreement seems doomed to failure, the Ombudsman Office may perform an independent material and legal assessment and issue an opinion that can be added to the closing communication.

Relation to other proceedings

Submitting a request for ADR to the Ombudsman Office does not exclude civil action and does not prevent such action. 


At the end of proceedings before a mediation body, the applicant may unilaterally waive the execution of the conciliation procedure within the meaning of the Swiss Civil Procedure Code (CPC). 


The Ombudsman Office must terminate the proceedings as soon as a case is referred to a conciliation authority, a court, an arbitral tribunal or an administrative authority.

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