On 26 December 2012, the Russian Ministry of Finance published on its web-site a draft law on the creation of a financial ombudsman for consumers of financial institutions’ services.

The main function of the financial ombudsman will be to consider consumers’ claims with respect to services provided by credit and insurance organisations and mutual insurance societies regarding small sums of money. The sum of claims should not exceed RUB 100,000 (approximately EUR 2,500) if the respondent is an insurance organization, and should not exceed RUB 500,000 (approximately EUR 12,500) if the respondent is a credit organisation. It is understood that the decision of the financial ombudsman will be binding on financial organizations. However, the consumer will have the right to appeal against the ombudsman’s decision to a court.

A financial ombudsman is appointed by the higher collegial body of the Financial Ombudsman Service, the independent non-commercial organization to be created by the Russian Government (the “Service”). The Service will be financed by financial organisations through voluntary contributions and after two years’ transition period– by mandatory contributions.

The creation of the Financial Ombudsman aims to decrease the pressure on courts by increasing the number of financial disputes that are settled out of court.

[Draft “Federal Law “On Financial Ombudsman for Protection the Rights of Consumers of the Financial Organisations’ Services”]