The credibility and success of the NFO hinges on its perception as being independent of the financial services industry, over which it has jurisdiction. There must be no undue influence in this process by these financial service providers, consumers or any other party. The structure of the NFO ensures that it alone decides whether a financial service provider has acted fairly or unreasonably when investigating a complaint.

1.The NFO Ombud is appointed by an independent Board of Directors. He/she is not appointed by the financial service providers under our jurisdiction.

2.The independent Board of Directors has a majority of independent, non-executive directors, unrelated or unconnected with the financial service provider industry.

3.The purpose of the independent board is to:

  • Ensure and protect the independence of the NFO Ombud by acting as a buffer, protecting the NFO Ombud against improper pressure brought to bear by the financiers of the NFO;
  • Ensure that the NFO is adequately resourced. The NFO must have sufficient human, financial and operational resources, funded by the participants in the scheme, to enable the NFO to function efficiently and timeously;
  • Appoint and renew the appointment of the NFO Ombud;
  • Receive and approve the NFO Ombud Scheme’s Annual Report;
  • Approve changes to the NFO Terms of Reference;
  • Liaise closely with the NFO Ombud on a regular basis.

4.The Ombud enjoys security of tenure. This means that the Ombud cannot be dismissed except in certain exceptional instances such as incompetence, gross misconduct, inability to effectively carry out his/her duties, or senility;

5.The Ombud is specifically not liable for dismissal on the grounds of handing down recommendations or rulings that are unpopular with the financial service providers or consumer groups;

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