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31 Mar 06: New Co-operation Agreement Signed for Financial Services Complaints

New Co-operation Agreement Signed for Financial Services Complaints A new co-operation agreement between the offices of the Financial Regulator, Financial Services Ombudsman and Pensions Ombudsman comes into effect from 1 April 2006 to assist consumers in their dealings with financial services firms. The agreement is a Memorandum of Understanding between the three organisations which sets out the terms under which co-operation will take place including the sharing of information relevant to the function of each office. At a signing of the Memorandum of Understanding agreement, Chief Executive of the Financial Regulator, Patrick Neary, said “This formal agreement is part of our joint commitment to promote the best interests of consumers of financial services and to ensure the efficient and effective handling of complaints. It further strengthens the position of consumers in their dealings with financial services firms allowing them to seek redress and pursue complaints in relation to their dealings with those firms.” Joe Meade, Financial Services Ombudsman, said, “Where we find evidence of systemic patterns of complaints this agreement will enable us to ensure that issues are acted upon at the earliest opportunity, in the interests of both consumers and financial service providers.” Paul Kenny, Pensions Ombudsman commented, “The signing of this agreement ensures that complaints will be channelled to the appropriate office for investigation therefore ensuring a speedy response to issues and disputes arising in financial services firms.” Financial Regulator The Financial Regulator is charged with helping consumers to make informed financial decisions in a safe and fair market and fostering sound dynamic financial institutions in Ireland, thereby contributing to financial stability. The Financial Regulator provides free and independent information to help consumers make informed decisions about personal finances. Since it was established the Financial Regulator has received 42,940 calls via its consumer helpline. Consumers can request a copy of the Factsheet ‘How to Complain’ by contacting the Financial Regulator on 1890 777 777, logging onto or by calling into its Consumer Information Centre at 6-8 College Green Dublin 2. Financial Services Ombudsman The primary role of the Financial Services Ombudsman is to investigate and decide in an independent and impartial manner, on complaints made by consumers about the conduct of financial service providers that have not been resolved by the providers, except for complaints that are within the jurisdiction of the Pensions Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is therefore an arbiter of unresolved financial disputes and is impartial. Since its establishment in April 2005 the Ombudsman has received some 3,500 complaints. He can be contacted on locall1890 882090 or by email at Pensions Ombudsman The role of the Pensions Ombudsman is to investigate and decide in an independent and impartial manner, on complaints and disputes concerning occupational pension schemes and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs). Since its establishment in 2003, the Pensions Ombudsman’s Office has dealt with over 600 complaints and with over 4,000 telephone queries. He can be contacted on 01-6471650 or by email at -ends- Pictures Available Media Queries to: Financial Regulator Press Office: Jill Forde 01-410 4096 / 086-239 3313 Financial Services Ombudsman’s Office: Diarmuid Byrne 01-477 3112 Pensions Ombudsman Office: Kevin Lonergan 01- 647 1656 or email