The Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau (FINE) advises users of insurance, banking and securities services in problem situations and assists them with their complaints. Customers can turn to FINE when, for example, they have received a negative decision from an insurance company on a claim or if they are dissatisfied with a bank’s or investment firm’s code of conduct and procedures. The Consumer Agency, the Financial Supervisory Authority and the Federation of Finnish Financial Services are contractual parties with the Financial Ombudsman Bureau.
FINE provides services free of charge. It is generally preferable to contact FINE first by phone, as the majority of enquiries and complaints can be handled solely by phone. If FINE’s assistance does not result in a conclusion, FINE will advise on the alternatives available to the customer for solving the dispute.
FINE also provides advice in insurance and financial matters prior to the purchase of a service or product. Customers are provided with information on laws, contractual terms, the financial sector’s codes of conduct and procedures and legal precedents.
Scope of Financial Ombudsman Bureau’s activities
In matters concerning insurance and pensions, FINE advices consumers, small entrepreneurs and other such customers. FINE’s activities cover voluntary property and life insurance, statutory workers’ compensation insurance, motor liability insurance, patient insurance and environmental insurance as well as industry-wide pension funds’ supplementary pension insurance and employee benefit funds’ health insurance matters.
The Bureau does not handle issues concerning statutory pension insurance, statutory health insurance or unemployment insurance.
In relation to banking matters, FINE’s role is to advise private individuals and small entrepreneurs.
In matters relating to securities, FINE advises non-professional investors in cases concerning the offering of investment services. This covers such cases as securities trading, investment advice, book-entry accounts, asset management and investment fund matters.
FINE issues recommendation statements
Based on written requests for a statement, the FINE and the Insurance Complaints Board, Banking Complaints Board and Securities Complaints Board, which operate in connection with it, issue recommendation statements in disputes between customers and service providers.
In many insurance and banking matters, a statement can also be requested from the Consumer Disputes Board. However, the Boards serve as alternatives to each other with respect to the handling of cases; this means that the Insurance Complaints Board and Banking Complaints Board do not initiate cases that are pending with the Consumer Disputes Board. The Consumer Disputes Board does not handle matters involving securities (such as shares, participation certificates or bonds) or investment-linked insurance.