The Ombud Council’s mandate.
The Ombud Council is a statutory body established in terms of the Financial Sector Regulation Act, 2017 (FSR Act). In terms of the Act, the Ombud Council’s objective is “to assist in ensuring that financial customers have access to, and are able to use, affordable, effective, independent and fair alternative dispute resolution processes for complaints about financial institutions in relation to financial products, financial services, and services provided by market infrastructures” (section 176 of the FSR Act).
The FSR Act sets out the Council’s functions and confers a range of supervision and enforcement powers over ombud schemes. In effect, our role is to act as the “regulator” of ombud schemes.
When should you complain to the Ombud Council about an ombud scheme?
The Ombud Council’s enforcement powers enable us to take various regulatory actions – including conducting investigations – against ombud schemes where a scheme contravenes or is likely to contravene a financial sector law, insofar as that law relates to ombud schemes. Certain actions may also be taken where an ombud scheme has contravened its own governing rules in a material way. The governing rules of industry ombud schemes are available (here).
The Ombud Council can therefore only deal with a query against an ombud scheme that indicates that this type of contravention has occurred or is likely to occur. If you have this type of query against an ombud scheme, please submit it through our website (here) or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What the Ombud Council cannot do.
The Ombud Council does not have any jurisdiction over the conduct of financial institutions. We therefore cannot deal with complaints against financial institutions, and these complaints should be submitted to the applicable ombud scheme. Details of applicable ombud schemes are set out (here).
It is also not our role to become involved in, or review or reconsider the outcome of any specific complaints handled by ombud schemes. This would be inconsistent with our mandate to protect the independence and impartiality of ombuds (section 177(1)(c) of the FSR Act.)
Other options that may be available to you.
- Ombud scheme appeal processes: If an ombud scheme has adjudicated your complaint against a financial institution, but you are dissatisfied with the outcome, please ask the ombud scheme for details of their appeal processes, as it may be possible to appeal the scheme’s decision.
- The FAIS Ombud’s statutory jurisdiction: If you have submitted a complaint about a financial institution to an ombud scheme, but the scheme has advised that they do not have jurisdiction to deal with it, the FAIS Ombud’s office may be able to assist you.
- The Ombud Council’s designation powers: If you are unable to find any ombud scheme that has jurisdiction to deal with your complaint against a financial institution, please let the Ombud Council know (here) or e-mail us at email@example.com. We may be able to point you in the right direction or, in some cases, designate an existing scheme to deal with your complaint.
- Approach the FSCA: The Financial Sector Conduct Authority is the conduct regulator of financial institutions. If you believe that a financial institution has contravened a financial sector law, or that an entity is providing financial services without the necessary license, contact the FSCA through their website www.fsca.co.za or call them on 0800 20 37 22. Bear in mind though that the FSCA’s role in such cases will be to consider regulatory enforcement action against the financial institution, which will not necessarily include redress for financial customers. Also note that the FSCA will not be able to assist you if your complaint is about an ombud scheme, as it does not have jurisdiction over ombud schemes.