International Network of Financial Services Ombudsman Schemes

Transparency and accountability

a fundamental principle for a financial services ombudsman

Fundamental principle

A financial services ombudsman scheme should:

  • pay due regard to the overall public interest in forward planning and day-to-day operations
  • consult about its scope, procedures, business plans and budgets
  • publish a report at least once a year, explaining the work it has done.

Effective approaches


The financial services ombudsman scheme consults about:

  • its initial scope and procedures
  • any significant changes to its scope and/or procedures
  • its business plans and budgets.


The financial services ombudsman scheme publishes a report at least once a year, providing information about:

  • the complaints it has handled
  • the way in which it has handled them.

The report includes details of the numbers and types of complaints that:

  • were received
  • were outside the ombudsman scheme’s jurisdiction
  • the ombudsman scheme declined to deal with (even though in jurisdiction)
  • were discontinued
  • were resolved by the ombudsman scheme
  • were resolved in favour of the complainant
  • were resolved in favour of the financial services business.

The report also includes:

  • the average time taken to resolve complaints
  • the rate of compliance with outcomes, if known
  • representative case studies
  • any systemic or significant problems identified in the financial system
  • the ombudsman scheme’s governance arrangements
  • how it preserves the independence of its decision-makers
  • the ombudsman scheme’s arrangements for control of quality
  • co-operation with other ombudsman schemes, nationally (where applicable) and internationally.

The report should make clear whether the financial services ombudsman scheme provides information directly to any financial services regulator about any systemic or significant problems identified in:

  • the financial system
  • individual financial services businesses.

The report is made publicly available:

  • on the financial services ombudsman scheme’s own website
  • in print
  • in any other way appropriate in the relevant country.


The financial services ombudsman scheme:

  • publishes its annual accounts
  • has appropriate internal controls to demonstrate financial probity.

Service quality

The financial services ombudsman scheme has a robust mechanism for:

  • reviewing the quality of the service it provides
  • handling complaints about service quality.

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