The International Network of Financial Services Ombudsman Schemes (INFO Network) is the worldwide association for financial services ombudsman schemes. It was established in late 2007 when a group of financial services Ombudsmen from around the world decided to formalise their annual meetings and ongoing co-operation. At December 2018, INFO Network has 58 members from 38 countries across four regions (Eurasia, Africa, Asia-Pacific, Americas).
The members of INFO Network are Ombudsman schemes operating as independent, out-of-court dispute resolution mechanisms in banking, investments, insurance, credit, financial advice, pensions and superannuation. In this context, the term ‘financial services Ombudsman scheme’ may describe an office that is assessed as fulfilling the same independent and impartial role. And, while many of our members are called Ombudsman, some are not. Other common terms are Mediator, Adjudicator and Ombud.
The overall aim of INFO Network is for members to work together to develop their expertise in dispute resolution, by exchanging experiences and information. Membership provides a network of colleagues who understand the Ombudsman role and what it is like to run an independent out-of-court dispute resolution office.
An annual conference provides opportunities for professional development and networking.
A monthly e-bulletin keeps members in touch with the latest news from each other and financial services generally. A secure intranet provides facilities to seek advice, share documents and access a library of Ombudsman resources. The public website helps build awareness of financial services Ombudsman schemes worldwide.
In 2014, INFO Network published ‘Effective approaches to fundamental principles’. This guide sets out six principles for financial services Ombudsman schemes, with effective approaches for implementing them. It is published on our website in several languages, as a shared resource and a practice guide for existing and emerging schemes. In March 2018, INFO Network published a comprehensive ‘Guide to setting up a Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme’, also available on our website.