Press Release - 13 September 2005
JERSEY FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMISSION INTRODUCES A NEW SCHEME FOR INVESTIGATING COMPLAINTS
The Jersey Financial Services Commission (“the JFSC”), together with the Economic Development Committee (“the Committee”) is pleased to announce a new scheme that introduces greater independence into the investigation of complaints against the JFSC. The new scheme has been discussed and agreed with the Committee.
The main feature of the new scheme is that it introduces a two-tier mechanism for the investigation of complaints against the JFSC: first, an investigation as at present by the JFSC itself, and second, a separate investigation of the complaint by an outside party where it has not proved possible to resolve the matter through the JFSC’s internal complaints procedure.
Complaints may be lodged by, or on behalf of, persons who have been directly affected by an act or omission on the part of the Commission and its staff. The person concerned must have suffered actual inconvenience, distress or loss.
Not all complaints will be eligible under the scheme. For example, it will not deal with disputes over the merits of regulatory decisions, which could be, or have been, the subject of statutory appeal.
The Committee will have an important role in ensuring that the investigation of complaints is as independent as possible under the current law. Where a complainant is not satisfied with the way in which the JFSC has dealt with a complaint, the person will be able to refer the matter to the President of the Committee. If the Committee considers that there is a case to answer, it may request the JFSC to appoint an impartial person (“the Investigator”) to investigate the matter and to prepare a report. The JFSC will consult with the Committee on the name and terms of reference of the person to be appointed (who will not be a member of the JFSC’s own staff). The JFSC will not appoint someone whom the Committee considers to be unsuitable. The Investigator will prepare a report on the complaint that will be submitted to the Committee with the JFSC response. The Committee will then consider how it wishes to reply to the complainant.
The Investigator’s report may make recommendations on remedial action to be taken by the JFSC, such as whether it should issue an apology or make changes to its procedures. The report and the JFSC’s response will normally be published unless the Committee considers that it is not in the public interest to do so. The decision whether or not to publish will be a matter for the Committee.
It should be noted the new scheme is quite separate from a Financial Ombudsman Service, which, if one were to exist in Jersey, would deal with complaints by the public against financial service businesses.
In due course, the intention is to introduce a new statutory framework for the independent investigation of complaints against the Commission. But this will take time, and rather than wait for this, the new scheme described above is being introduced as an interim step.
The President of the Committee, Deputy Gerald Voisin, commented that: “Confidence in the JFSC is a vital component of Jersey’s strong finance industry and so I am delighted that the JFSC has taken the initiative to design and implement this scheme. The Committee has worked with the JFSC on the development of the scheme and fully supports the outcome.”
The Director General of the JFSC, Mr David Carse, stated that: “The JFSC only receives a small number of complaints against itself, but it is important in the interests of transparency that these are investigated in an objective and impartial manner. This is what the new scheme aims to achieve within the existing legal framework. It is not however the end of the story and the intention remains to provide for the independent investigation of complaints under new legislation that will be brought forward as soon as possible.”
The new scheme takes effect from today. A full description of the scheme is available on the JFSC’s web site, www.jerseyfsc.org
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For further information please contact: -
David Carse, Director General
Tel: + 44 (0) 1534 822011