Progress Report on the Channel Islands Financial Services Ombudsman

As we progress through 2014, a Financial Services Ombudsman for the Channel Islands is in the process of being established, which will consider individual customer complaints regarding financial services provided in or from within Jersey, Guernsey, Sark and Alderney.

The Financial Services Ombudsman will be set up by way of similar laws in the separate jurisdictions of Jersey and Guernsey, the Office of which will be based in Jersey and will be funded by the financial services industries in both jurisdictions.

At present, if a customer has a complaint about financial services provided in or from within Jersey or Guernsey, there is no body with official powers to take on their complaint, leaving legal action as the only route available, which can be both costly and daunting.

Following the registering of the Jersey and Guernsey laws and the establishment of the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman (anticipated in December 2014), the Ombudsman will have the power to investigate complaints brought by an individual, small business or small charity against a financial services provider, and to take further steps to compensate said complainant when it is deemed appropriate. The Ombudsman will have the power to investigate complaints going back to 1st January 2010 in Jersey and 2nd July 2013 for Guernsey, while looking forward, complainants must bring complaints to the Ombudsman within a time limit of 6 years from the event, or, for issues that have taken a longer time to surface, 2 years from when the complainant should have known there was a problem.

If a complaint is upheld, the Ombudsman shall have the power to make awards of up to £150,000 to reinstate complainants to the position they would have been in had the problem not occurred.