Guernsey's Commerce and Employment Department has issued a
Consultation Paper regarding the proposed Financial Services
Ombudsman Scheme for Guernsey and Jersey.
The proposed FSO scheme would provide an independent dispute
resolution service to settle complaints between consumers and
businesses providing financial services in Guernsey and Jersey with
a view to providing independent redress as appropriate for that
The scheme, as envisaged by the Consultation Paper, will cover
all activities that are regulated and supervised by the GFSC and in
addition, consumer lending and personal pensions. Businesses which
provide consumer credit will be subject to the scheme regardless of
whether they are regulated by the GFSC.
Complaints, which will be subject to a time limit specified in
the legislation, will be considered within the scheme's
jurisdiction and the Ombudsman can seek to mediate a resolution
between the parties. The Ombudsman would also be empowered to
investigate and make a determination on the complaint based on what
is fair and reasonable in all the circumstances.
For complaints upheld in full or in part, monetary awards may be
payable to the complainant by the financial services provider or
directions to the financial services provider may be included.
Determinations would be enforceable through the Royal Court and it
is proposed that there will be no appeal against the
Ombudsman's decision for financial services providers.
The scheme would only be open to those for whom using the courts
is not a viable option, such as individuals, small businesses and
charities. It is proposed that the scheme be funded by the
financial services industry with the start-up budget being raised
by an initial levy on financial services providers. An outline
approach for funding the Scheme is for a graded-fee for certain
sectors, with a flat fee for providers that deal with consumers/
personal customers in other areas. Initially it is intended there
will be no charge for consumers, however a nominal fee may be
introduced to deter repeated or vexatious claims.
Jersey's consultation on the scheme was published in January
2011 and can be viewed here. Published responses to it may be viewed
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
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