Financial Ombudman releases report for 2009

Brendan Burgess


General Matters of Concern
During 2009 the following matters were of particular concern and are outlined in detail in the later Sections of this Report.
• Because of the economic downturn, the inability of Providers to pay awards made by the Ombudsman. Consideration should be given to revising the Investor Compensation Company
Limited to ensure that where companies have gone into liquidation or are unable to pay awards that this fund should meet it. The matter has been raised with the Financial Regulator and the Department of Finance;

• Accountants, solicitors and other investment advisors are not subject to the Ombudsman’s remit. Representations have been made to the Department of Finance and the Financial Regulator on
this matter;
• The activities of the Office must be carried out in private. The views of the Department of Finance have been sought about providing statutory protection to the Ombudsman where he may name providers, if he considers it in the public interest to do so;
• The judgment delivered in the High Court on 27 August 2009 was of particular significance. It clarified in detail the role of the Ombudsman, that it was for him to decide whether or not to investigate a complaint and how remedies proposed were to be effected;
• Concerns about how stockbroker’s private discretionary accounts are operated were brought to the attention of the Financial Regulator.

Brendan Burgess

Published Findings

• ¤250,000 to retired farmer for bank’s cavalier approach and belittling remarks;
• ¤410,000 invested in Property Bond to be refunded in full;
• Grandmother’s ¤10,000 ‘burial fund’ and her grandchild’s ¤2,000 wrongly invested;
• ¤143,000 to two elderly couples needed personal intervention of Ombudsman;
• Mortgage rate to remain at original tracker rate at end of fixed rate period;
• No breakage fee to be charged on exit from a fixed rate mortgage;
• Investment Mortgage rate alteration was incorrect;
• ¤175,000 award for ¤290,000 loss suffered by elderly couple;
• ¤100,000 Credit Union investment loss to be refunded;
• ¤100,000 for lost land certificate in cancelled ¤225,000 sale;
• ¤10,000 to Credit Union for loss of ¤28,000 in ¤130,000 life policy;
• ¤21,000 award as move of pension policy to secure fund not carried out;
• ¤6,500 for incorrect statement to pensioners about access to investment;
• Stockbroker’s inappropriate investments merits awards totalling ¤125,000;
• ¤950,000 investment complaint not upheld;
• Overcharging of insurance premiums for non smokers discovered;
• ¤1,000 to grandmother, an uninsured driver, for Insurance Company error;
• 50% award for stolen car valued at ¤20,000;
• Insurance loss assessor no help to his client;
• Credit Union was wrong to release ¤5,400 from a minor’s account;
• Hire Purchase Company’s ten day clearance period inequitable;
• Change in maternity benefit cover was not an upgrade;
• ¤2,000 for sale of over 65 mortgage protector policy;
• ¤345,000 returned to two elderly investors for inappropriate investment;
• ¤300,000 refunded for six year investment bond wrongly sold to 85 year old couple;
• ¤7,000 award for breakage fee conditions on fixed rate mortgages not clearly stated;
• ¤116,000 award to elderly investors for wrong sale of ¤560,000 ten year bond;
• ¤90,000 for not explaining the downsides of a ¤150,000 geared property fund;
• ¤60,000 for unsuitable ¤75,000 High Risk Property Fund Investment;
• ¤53,000 award for non-disclosure of conflict of interest in investment property;
• ¤6,600 where ¤40,000 retirement lump sum investment fell ¤10,500 within a year;
• ¤6,500 for unsolicited approach to old age pensioner to change a ¤35,000 investment;
• ¤1m of alleged inappropriate investments by elderly person not upheld;
• Non payment of ¤625,000 life assurance death benefit by company was correct;
• ¤100,000 Investment Bond complaint not upheld;
• Six month notice period for cashing in investment cost investor ¤5,000;
• Accountancy firm’s role in ‘execution only’ ¤500,000 investment was confusing;
• ¤7,500 award to widower told in error of possible¤130,000 in death benefit;
• ¤3,000 for insurance reviews not carried out – possible 96,000 other cases;
• Benefit of ¤25,000 paid to blind person as Company’s actions were unfair;
• Cause of death insurance benefit condition was inequitable – ¤25,000;
• Cardiac Surgery costs of ¤15,000 and 50% of health insurance claim of ¤11,400 paid;
• Benefit of doubt in complaint regarding ¤18,000 disability payment;
• Concerns about motor insurance policies cancelled over the phone;
• Burned out car complaint of ¤3,500 and son stealing it not disclosed;
• ¤30,000 stolen property from guesthouse and non-disclosure of prior claims;
• ¤200 awarded for delay in paying travel insurance claim;
• Hair transplant eyebrow treatment health insurance claim not upheld;
• Bank account of deceased could not be released to a brother;
• Allegation of ¤540 Credit card fraud in Thailand was upheld;
• Only ¤2,000 of foreign ATM withdrawals of ¤4,000 were fraudulent;
• ¤4,000 for person on ‘Social Welfare’ and loan repayments;
• ¤22,000 travel insurance cancellation claim upheld.


Frequent Poster
resolved in complainants’ favour 41%
not upheld 37%
outside remit 16%
advisory referrals 6%

I don't understand these figures and why they don't add up to 100%
41+37+16+6=100. Time for a cupa.

These could be interesting:
• Mortgage rate to remain at original tracker rate at end of fixed rate period;
• No breakage fee to be charged on exit from a fixed rate mortgage;


Frequent Poster
41+37+16+6=100. Time for a cupa.

These could be interesting:
• Mortgage rate to remain at original tracker rate at end of fixed rate period;
• No breakage fee to be charged on exit from a fixed rate mortgage;
Will this apply to all mortgages now, or just particular cases? Also, if you break out of a fixed rate now, would you forfeit the tracker rate due at the end of the fixed period?


Frequent Poster
These are findings on particular individual cases.

Yes you will forfeit the tracker if you break out of the contract offering the tracker.

Brendan Burgess

I think they do Brendan.

Just in case you think I am losing it...

The figures in the Ombudsman's Report are confusing and didn't add up.

But when I got my head around them, I edited the post and forgot to remove my question.