Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath TD has received confirmation from Finance Minister Michael Noonan that the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO) will be given the power to publish the complaints record of individual financial service providers.
A Fianna Fáil Bill to give this power to the FSO passed second stage in the Dáil in March 2012. Deputy McGrath raised the issue on the Order of Business recently and has since been advised in writing by Minister Michael Noonan that he intends to ‘bring forward an amendment at Committee Stage of the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Bill 2011 to provide Financial Services Ombudsman with the power to name, in certain circumstances and subject to certain conditions, financial service providers about whom the FSO has upheld complaints.’
Deputy McGrath said, “It is the stated position of the FSO that the public interest would be best served by publishing the complaints record of individual financial service providers. This is particularly important given that the Ombudsman’s office received 8,135 complaints in 2012, up 12% on 2011 levels.
“We need to ensure that the public has access to accurate information about how financial service providers are treating customers and how they behave when their shortcomings are pointed out. It is vital that public confidence in the Irish financial system be restored. It is my view that greater transparency about the performance and behaviour of individual institutions is a basic pre-requisite to achieve this.
“I believe that publishing the complaints record of institutions would help to weed out remaining bad practices in the financial services industry. I have no doubt that publishing the complaints record of financial service providers will motivate them to clean up their act and improve the service provided to customers.
“I welcome the confirmation from the Minister that he intends to give this power to the FSO. However, I remain concerned at the lack of any timeframe to implement this. The bill that the Minister intends to use as the vehicle to give this power to the FSO – The Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Bill 2011 – completed second stage in October 2011 and has yet to progress to committee stage. “