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The Financial Services Ombudsman, Bill Prasifka, will be given the power to publish his 'name and shame' reports under new Fianna Fáil legislation.
The Financial Services Ombudsman, Bill Prasifka, will be given the power to publish his 'name and shame' reports under new Fianna Fáil legislation.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Government will pass FF bill to ‘name and shame’ financial institutions

Fianna Fáil has introduced legislation allowing the Financial Services Ombudsman to publish reports about its complaints.
Mar 27th 2012, 4:46 PM 3,542 14

THE FINE GAEL-LABOUR coalition is likely to allow the Dáil pass a bill from Fianna Fáil which would see financial institutions ‘named and shamed’ if complaints are upheld against them.

Legislation being debated in the Dáil this evening and tomorrow, tabled by Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesman Michael McGrath, will allow the office of the Financial Services Ombudsman to publish written reports about complaints it hears from the public.

Currently the office is not empowered to publish reports on complaints lodged by the general public – but the short bill being put forward by McGrath would give it the power to publicly disclose any findings.

The idea is that the legislation would allow the ombudsman to ‘name and shame’ financial institutions who breach the terms of their arrangements with individual consumers.

McGrath said the current ombudsman, Bill Prasifka, had regularly claimed the public interest would be best served if details of complaints made by the public could be formally published.

He said his bill would “allow the Ombudsman to publish complaints details concerning banks, insurance companies, stockbrokers, mortgage brokers, hire purchase providers, health insurance companies and others.

I believe that ‘naming and shaming’ errant financial services providers would help to weed out remaining bad practices in the financial services industry. It would also provide consumers with access with important information about providers when making decisions.

A government spokesman this afternoon said that Fine Gael and Labour TDs were set to allow the Bill be passed at the current stage, indicating that the simple two-section Bill is set to become law later this year.

Because the Bill is deemed ‘private members’ business’, however, it will be up to the government to decide when it allows any further discussion on the Bill and whenever it is ultimately passed.

Initial discussions on the Bill will be held in the Dáil between 7:30pm and 9pm tonight and tomorrow night.

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Gavan Reilly

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