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The Financial Services Ombudsman

Bill Prasifka, the new Financial Services Ombudsman has started well, if we can properly understand recent newspaper reports. He seems to have issued some form of Press Release but it’s not on his website yet.

The reports credit him with underlining that he is limited in the amount of compensation he may award against the anonymous “regulated” financial services bodies (banks) he polices. (He does’nt really; he reacts to complaints).

Consequently, Bill awarded the maximum, €250,000, to a farming couple who lost much more than that.

The limit is set in regulation, as follows:

“The amount of 250,000 euro is prescribed by Council as the maximum amount of compensation payable in respect of all other complaints for the purposes of Section 57CI(5) and Section 57CI(4)(d) of the Central Bank Act 1942 (as amended by Section 16 of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority Act of Ireland Act 2004).”

This is comedy. Bill is himself policed by a Council; they write the regulations. The Minister for Finance appoints them.

Who are they? I do not know, but we learned recently from the Irish Times HERE that stuff like this was actually being written by the banks.

See our earlier post on the Financial Services Ombudsman HERE at paragraphs 12 to 15


  1. The Council for the Financial Services Ombudsman, headed up by the Chief Executive of the Consumers Association of Ireland, Dermott Jewell, is listed here –

    Surely, with such a consumer focused Chair, and a MABS representative, it shouldn’t be too hard to get Bills request fir a larger compensation level pushed through – even with the banking representatives on the Council as well.

    I presume Bill did as for a higher limit? I winder what the response of Council was to his request?

    I think I also saw a comment yesterday where Bill was concerned about the ability of some financial institutions to actually pay the awards he might make. Is that what they call “regulatory capture”?

  2. By the way, I’m interested in your comments regarding the powers of this Council.

    After years of Joe Meade sticking by the principle of not naming and shaming offenders, Bill is now calling for the ability to do so.

    He has been supported in this by consumer advocates – I’ve been calling for this for years – but I wonder if this Council also have the powers to allow Bill do the naming and shaming?

    And same questions might then apply from above – did Bill actually ask for the power, and if he did, what did the Council say in reply.