principle 4: effectiveness
Effective approaches to fundamental principles guide: part 5
Effectiveness is a fundamental principle
which members should aspire to comply with, so far as it is within their control
5.1 There should be:
• a clear definition of what constitutes a complaint; and
• clear obligations on financial businesses to deal with complaints fairly and promptly.
5.2 Financial ombudsman schemes should:
• have a flexible and informal process (where parties do not need professional advisers);
• have skilled decision-makers; and
• be properly resourced.
that have worked in some countries, though there may possibly be other ways.
Obligations for financial businesses
5.3 What constitutes a complaint is clear, and documented. For example:
• can it be any oral/written expression of dissatisfaction; or
• does it have to be a formal complaint in writing?
5.4 Financial businesses within the financial ombudsman scheme’s jurisdiction are required to:
• have an accessible, effective and fair internal complaints process, which is published;
• issue a written response to a complaint, with reasons, within a specified time;
• tell complainants that, if they are still dissatisfied, they can go to the ombudsman scheme;
• have a single person with overall responsibility for the handling of complaints;
• respond promptly to communications from the ombudsman scheme;
• provide information and documents requested by the ombudsman scheme; and
• comply promptly with the ombudsman scheme’s decisions.
Informal and flexible process
5.5 The financial ombudsman scheme has an informal and flexible process, so that neither party needs a lawyer or advisor (though parties are not prohibited from using a lawyer/adviser if they want to).
5.6 The financial ombudsman scheme:
• handles enquiries, to resolve some problems before they turn into full-blown disputes;
• takes an active role in deciding what evidence is required and calling for it;
• obtains expert reports when these are necessary;
• uses informal mediation to reach a fair settlement, where this is possible and appropriate; and
• issues a formal decision in cases that are not settled.
Information, advice and training
5.7 The financial ombudsman scheme assists early resolution of complaints by:
• publishing details of its approach to common disputes;
• giving advice to consumers and financial businesses; and
• helping train consumer advice centres and financial businesses’ complaint departments.
Knowledge and skills
5.8 Financial ombudsman scheme decision-makers:
• have the necessary knowledge and skills in resolving disputes;
• have a general understanding of law;
• have knowledge of relevant financial services; and
• are appropriately trained.
Financial ombudsman resources
5.9 The financial ombudsman scheme is:
• adequately staffed;
• adequately funded;
• efficient; and
so that disputes can be effectively and expeditiously investigated and resolved.
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