New Ombudsman for Financial Institutions appointed

Brendan Burgess


The Financial Services Ombudsman's Bureau (the Bureau) was established on a statutory basis under the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2004 and opened for business on 1st April 2005.

The Chairperson of the Financial Services Ombudsman Council, Dr Con Power, today announced the appointment of Joe Meade, currently Data Protection Commissioner, to the newly created independent office of Financial Services Ombudsman.

He also announced the appointment of Caroline Gill, formerly Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland, and Gerry Murphy, formerly the Ombudsman for Credit Institutions as Deputy Financial Services Ombudsmen under the new Scheme.

The new scheme became operational on April 1st and, as Joe Meade will not take up his appointment until May 16th, the Council has appointed Caroline Gill as Acting Financial Services Ombudsman until then.

The Financial Services Ombudsman, as an independent officer, will ensure that unresolved complaints from customers of regulated financial service providers are investigated, mediated and adjudicated fairly within a statutory framework and under Regulations made by the Financial Services Ombudsman Council with the prior approval of the Minister for Finance. The Minister for Finance may from time to time by Regulation designate other financial service providers to come within the ambit of the Scheme.

The Ombudsman is empowered to make awards up to limits prescribed from time to time by Council Regulations, and awards are binding on both parties subject to appeal to the High Court. Council has prescribed an award limit of 250,000 Euro.

The Bureau is being expanded to cover members of Credit Unions and customers of brokers, all other regulated financial service providers, and such other financial service providers as are designated by Regulations made by the Minister for Finance.

A full schedule of the operational dates for the commencement of complaint handling procedures, for the expanded sectors, in respect of all complaints eligible under the Act from 1st April 2005 will be published by 30th June 2005.

Eligible consumers include all natural persons, Limited Companies with a turnover of 3 million Euro or less (SMEs) and all unincorporated bodies, including clubs, charities, trusts, partnerships etc.

Notes for Editors

The Financial Services Ombudsman
The Ombudsman will be located initially at

Financial Services Ombudsman's Bureau,
32 Upper Merrion Street,
Dublin 2.

Telephone number 01- 6130892
Fax 01-.6130897
Lo call number.
Email address
Website address.

The principal function of the Financial Services Ombudsman is to deal with eligible complaints by mediation and, where necessary by investigation and adjudication.
He is also required to: -
a) ensure proper accounts are kept in respect of the Bureau, and
b) arrange for preparation of annual statements of account, and transmit then to the Comptroller and Auditor General, and
c) prepare annual report of activities of the Bureau, and
d) publish certain other reports, and
e) arrange for preparation of annual estimates of income and expenditure, and
f) prepare strategic plan, and
g) provide Council and Minister with reports, and appear before Oireachtas Committee when required.

The Financial Services Ombudsman's Bureau is the corporate entity of the statutory scheme and consists of the Ombudsman, each Deputy Ombudsman and the staff.

The Financial Services Ombudsman Council was appointed by the Minister for Finance in October 2004. The Chairperson is Dr Con Power and the other members are: -
John Colgan, Deputy Chairperson, Crozier Deane, Dermott Jewell, Paul Joyce, Paddy Leydon, Paddy Lyons, Jim McMahon, Caitriona Ni Charra.

The main functions of the Council as laid down in the Act are: -
a) to prescribe guidelines under which the Ombudsman is to operate, and
b) to determine the levies and charges payable for the performance of services provided by the Ombudsman, and
c) to keep under review the efficiency and effectiveness of the Bureau and to advise the Minister on any matter relevant to the operation of the Bureau, and
d) to advise the Ombudsman on any matter on which the Ombudsman seeks advice.

Those entitled to make complaints under the scheme.

In relation to a regulated financial service provider a consumer

a) who is a customer of the financial service provider, or
b) to whom the financial service provider has offered to provide a financial service, or
c) who has sought the provision of a financial service from the financial service provider.

A consumer for the purposes of the Act is defined as: -

a) a natural person when not acting in the course of, or in connection with , carrying on a business,
b) classes of persons as prescribed by Council.

Council has prescribed the following classes of people.

a) all unincorporated bodies, including clubs, charities, trusts, partnerships, etc.
b) Limited companies with an annual turnover or 3 million Euro or less (SMEs)

While the Scheme commences on April 1st 2005 the a consumer will be entitled to make a complaint in respect of conduct of a regulated financial service provider even if the conduct complained of occurred before April 1st 2005 provided the conduct did not occur more than six years previously . Going forward a six-year limit will apply.

A Regulated Financial Service Provider for the purpose of the scheme means
a) A financial service provider whose business is regulated by the Central Bank or IFSRA or by an authority that performs that function in a European Economic Area country.
b) A financial service provider designated as such by Regulations made by the Minister for Finance.

Financial Service Providers falling under a) include, Banks, Building Societies, Insurance Companies (Life and non-life) Credit Unions, Stockbrokers, Bureau de Change, Investment Business Firms, Investment Product Intermediaries, Mortgage Intermediaries, Money Lenders and Designated Investment Companies.

Financial Service Providers falling under b) include Credit Intermediaries, Pawnbrokers, Hire-purchase Companies, Mortgage lenders under section 2 of the Consumer Credit Act 1995, the VHI.

The existing voluntary Ombudsman for the Credit Institutions and the Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland schemes are incorporated into the Bureau. Existing complaints still in progress will be carried forward to the statutory scheme.

A full schedule of the operational dates for the commencement of complaint handling procedures, for the expanded sectors, in respect of all complaints eligible under the Act from 1st April 2005 will be published by 30th June 2005.


Mr Joe Meade.

Mr. Joe Meade was appointed by the government as Ireland's third Data Protection Commissioner for a five-year period with effect from September 2000. A native of Co. Clare he is married with three children.

As a career civil servant he has wide experience in the Irish and international public services having served in the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General since 1967 where he held the position of Secretary General from 1996 until his current appointment. He also served for a two-year period in 1993/94 in the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg and from 1997/2000 was a member of (in 2000 its Chairperson) the Audit Commission of the European Space Agency in Paris. In 1999 he was a member of the Referendum Commission. He is currently a member of the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party of the EU and the Joint Supervisory Bodies of Europol, Schengen, Customs Information System and Eurojust.

He graduated in 1974 with a B.Com.Degree from University College Dublin.

Caroline Gill

Deputy Financial Services Ombudsman
Acting Financial Services Ombudsman


B.A (UCD) M.Sc., (TCD/IMI) Barrister at Law (Kings Inns)

Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Member
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Graduate Member
Institute of Personnel Management Graduate Member 1987, Student of the Year NCEA, College of Commerce Rathmines 1987
Marketing Institute of Ireland, Graduate Member
Public Relations Institute of Ireland, Member

Positions held

Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland 1998-31 March 2005
Chief Executive of the Consumers' Association of Ireland


British and Irish Ombudsman Association – Executive Committee Member
Financial Services Network (European Union scheme which handles cross border financial services disputes) European Commission – Internal Market DG

Served on
Food Safety Authority of Ireland
Euro Change Over Board
Information Society Commission – Awareness sub committee
Member of LUAS Board (Light Rail Advisory and Action Group)
Member Consumers Consultative Committee EU DGXXIV
British and Irish Ombudsman Association – Legal Liaison Group

Caroline Gill has two children and lives in Foxrock.

Mr Gerry Murphy.

Gerry is a graduate of U.C.D., the Kings Inns and the Harvard Business School.

He has held executive positions in multi-national companies such as Unilever and S.C. Johnson.

Contact Details
Dr Con Power 01-6130892
Mr Joe Meade 086-8564563
Caroline Gill 01-6130892
Mr Gerry Murphy 01-4783755


Registered User
Will this appointment make much of a difference?
I had a greivence with BOI over an Endowment Policy which I know was missold to us 14 years ago, (now cashed in). I sent it to IFSRA and following that, it was dealt with and rejected by the current Ombudsman for credit Institutions.
I would love to know if anyone else has brought their case to the above and if they are going to pursue this new avenue too.
I know that like in the UK there are many people who have lost out on their policies but they are getting compensation, when will the Irish cases be heard? Is it a case that the banks are too powerfull and noone will take them on?