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Early alerts to dispute resolution schemes could minimise investment losses, says FSCL

Posted in Personal Finance

By Amanda Morrall

Financial Services Complaints Ltd, (FSCL), the external dispute resolution scheme for the failed Ross Asset Management, is reminding investors with concerns about financial advisors and fund managers they can call on their resolution scheme manager to raise any concerns.

FSCL chief executive Susan Taylor said Ross Asset Management investment losses might have been minimised had investors with concerns approached FSCL at the earliest opportunity rather than allowing their concerns to fester.

"The sooner a complaint is received, the sooner action can be taken,'' said Taylor, noting that complaints directed to the FSCL were directed to the Financial Markets Authority when it became apparent something was awry.

"If the scheme sees that a systemic issue exists, the regulatory authorities can be alerted and the appropriate action taken as has been the case with Ross Asset Management,'' said Taylor.

Under financial services regulation, which came into force in December 2010, all businesses operating in this space are required to belong to an external dispute resolution scheme. (To find out the name of an affiliated dispute resolution scheme search for your provider in the  Financial Services Provider Registry on the Companies Listed website here. (See also Amanda Morrall article here on financial jargon you'll want to become familiar with).

To date there are four Government approved schemes. They are as follows:

 Financial Services Complaints Limited

 Insurance & Savings Ombudsman

 Financial Dispute Resolution Scheme (FDR)

 Banking Ombudsman

FSCL alone has 5,000 participants.

Taylor also offered the following tips:

• Select your fund manager with care. Check to see that the manager is audited or otherwise accountable. Be wary of secret systems or a reluctance to disclose past performance.

• Look into the size of the operation. One man fund managers will fail if the man/woman fails, whether through temptation or ill health. A professional management team with mutual oversight and clear succession is far preferable.

• Insist that the investments be in your name, and are able to be seen on the public register of holders. Sometimes a fund manager will use a nominee company to aggregate interests. It is preferable that any nominee be independent of the manager.

For a six-point checklist on red-flag financial concerns, see Amanda Morrall interview here with Pathfinder Asset Management's John Berry.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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1 Comments

Dispute Resolution schemes

Dispute Resolution schemes appear to be ineffectual. Thet suck out heaps of dough from the finance industry and cost loads to administer. Frankly they appear to be a waste of space. They had similar schemes in the past and they wrere wound up. That appear to be a Sticking plaster approach to the Gfc that I predict will disappear again in a few years.