Press Release

FOI-The Gatekeeper for the Financial Consumer

Date :2016-06-08
Audio Guide

The global financial crisis of 2008 triggered many structured note disputes in Taiwan. To more fully protect the interests of financial consumers, Taiwan passed the Financial Consumer Protection Act (FCPA) in 2011. The Financial Ombudsman Institution (FOI), which formally began operations on 2 January 2012, was established as a totally government funded institution specifically tasked with handling financial consumer disputes. Its objective is to enable the efficient resolution of conflicts between financial consumers and financial services enterprises (FSEs).

Pursuant to the FCPA, a financial consumer can apply to the FOI to initiate an ombudsman case if the relevant dispute cannot be resolved after a complaint has been filed with the FSE. The FOI ombudsman procedures are designed as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme, for the purpose of providing a method other than court litigation that is quick and effective, low cost, and flexible, to resolve disputes between parties about their rights and obligations under the private law. To date, the FOI has a dispute resolution success rate greater than 50 percent for its accepted ombudsman cases, with an average of only 50 days required to close a case, showing its preliminary achievements in resolving financial consumer disputes.

Pursuant to the FCPA, the FOI, taking the UK Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) scheme as reference, only charges annual fees and dispute resolution services fees from FSEs, and does not charge financial consumers any fees. In the ombudsman cases closed from 2012 to 2015, 52% of the dispute resolution outcomes were favorable to the financial consumers (see Note), a reassuring reminder that the FOI is an impartial institution despite its source of income from FSEs. Financial consumers are advised to seek assistance from the FOI to resolve their disputes quickly and effectively.

Recently, some public concern has been voiced over the issue of whether the FOI refers FSE regulatory violation cases to the competent authorities. It should be noted that within the FCPA framework, the FOI is positioned as a dispute resolution institution, not a regulator, and is not required under the FCPA to refer regulatory violation cases to the competent authorities. However, to protect financial consumers, and in keeping with the spirit of the May 2015 amendment to the FCPA, in the future when its Ombudsman Committee reviews ombudsman cases and discovers any materials to FSE regulatory violations that need to be referred to the competent authorities, the FOI will do so to fulfill its auxiliary function in financial supervision.

Ombudsman Case Closure Statistics

Closure Year
Cases Accepted and Closed
Cases Withdrawn Cases
Through Mediation
Ombudsman Decisions Results Favorable to Financial Consumers
Not Settled
Payable by FSEs
Not Payable by FSEs
Number of Cases
2012 1,712 351 142 139 325 755 815 48%
2013 2,474 439 185 503 305 1,042 1,247 50%
2014 1,944 232 194 676 172 670 1,080 56%
2015 1,909 300 183 541 193 692 1,034 54%
Total 8,039 1,322 704 1,859 995 3,159 4,176 52%
Last Update:2021-09-06
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