The chairman of a new ombudsman for financial services in the Channel Islands has been appointed.
Jersey’s Minister for Economic Development and Guernsey’s Department of Commerce and Employment announced today that David Thomas has been jointly appointed as the first Chairman of the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman. This new body will handle complaints about financial services in Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
David Thomas is a lawyer 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 funded by the financial services industries in both jurisdictions.
The Financial Services Ombudsman (Jersey) Law 2014 (the “Jersey Law”) was registered in the Royal Court on 25 July 2014 and Guernsey’s equivalent Financial Services Ombudsman (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 201- (the “Guernsey Law”) will be debated in the autumn and is hoped to be registered by the end of 2014. The Laws initially create the new organisation, enabling it to start preparations to open for complaints as soon as it is ready. 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 for all of the Channel Islands.
Jersey’s Minister for Economic Development has appointed Mr Thomas to his official role as Chairman of OFSO for Jersey, while Guernsey’s Department of Commerce and Employment has initially appointed him on a shadow basis in the same role for Guernsey, until the Guernsey Law is in place.
Guernsey’s Minister of Commerce & Employment, Kevin Stewart 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, Senator Alan Maclean said: “David Thomas brings a wealth of experience from financial and other ombudsman schemes in the UK and worldwide which will be of great benefit to the new ombudsman service. His appointment brings the opening of the scheme another step closer.”
David Thomas said: “I look forward to the creation of an effective and efficient financial ombudsman that will underpin confidence in financial services in the Channel Islands, by ensuring there is a place that can help consumers if something goes wrong.”
The non-executive board member roles will be advertised in due course in the local press.