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Channel Islands' Financial Services Ombud A Step Closer

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
20 August, 2014

Guernsey and Jersey have hailed the appointment of the Channel Islands' first Chairman of the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman. The body, which will be established shortly, will handle complaints about financial services in the two islands.

The new chairman, David Thomas, is a qualified solicitor who was appointed as the UK Banking Ombudsman in 1997, subsequently becoming a Principal Ombudsman with the statutory UK Financial Ombudsman Service. He retired from that Service in 2012, though he continues to advise them part-time. He is a board member of the UK Legal Ombudsman and advises internationally on financial consumer protection and dispute resolution issues.

The Financial Services Ombudsman for the Channel Islands is in the process of being established by law and will have powers to investigate and determine customer complaints. It will be based in Jersey with shared staff, resources, and premises, and be funded by the financial services industries in both jurisdictions.

The Financial Services Ombudsman (Jersey) Law 2014 was registered in the Royal Court on July 25, 2014 and Guernsey's equivalent Financial Services Ombudsman (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 2014 will be debated in the autumn,, and is hoped to be registered by the end of 2014.

Recruitment of the remaining board members will now go ahead and, once fully constituted, the board will appoint the Ombudsman and oversee the establishment of the office.

Kevin Stewart, Guernsey's Minister of Commerce & Employment, said: "We were delighted with the quality of candidates interested in this first role of chairman. We are confident David Thomas will provide strong direction in the establishment of an effective ombudsman service for the Channel Islands."

Jersey's Minister for Economic Development, Alan Maclean, added: "David Thomas brings a wealth of experience from financial and other ombudsman schemes in the UK and worldwide, which will be of great benefit for the new ombudsman service. His appointment brings the opening of the scheme another step closer."

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