There was plenty of media coverage surrounding the release of the Bi-Annual report of the FSO last month.

The review confirmed that the FSO had recorded an increase of 27% in reports compared to the corresponding period in 2012. In publishing the review, the FSO was critical generally of financial institutions and of the approach of some sectors to complaints received. It confirmed that the complaint outcomes indicated that Banking as a sector had the highest percentage of complaints upheld against it - with 10% more recorded than in respect of the insurance and investment sectors.

A copy of the review is available here.

The Ministerial Order necessary to effect the new powers in the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 took effect on 1 September 2013. The FSO now has the power to name regulated financial service providers who have at least three complaints against them substantiated.

In confirming the signing of the Order, the Minister for Finance stated that "this additional provision will mean that financial service providers who are failing their customers will be publically identified and incentivised to make real improvements".

The FSO may publish the first report containing these details in early 2014 and clients should consider reviewing their approach to complaints. The Group already offers a review service to clients in respect of all regulatory issues, including the adequacy of regulatory policies and procedures adopted by clients in order to meet legislative and other requirements. We would be happy to offer this service in respect of clients’ complaints processes and procedures.