Joining the IFSO Scheme 2024

We warmly invite Financial Service Providers (FSPs) listed, or about to list, on the New Zealand Financial Services Register to consider the many benefits of being an IFSO Scheme Participant.

The IFSO Scheme offers Participants a wide range of unique services and valuable resources including:

  • Fixed and capped complaint fee of $1,800+GST (from 1 July 2024 this will be $2,000+GST)
  • Free 0800 number support for complaint process advice.
  • A database of Case Studies to assist you to manage complaints.
  • Free professional development from the IFSO Scheme, including 'Coffee Time' webinars.
  • Complaint Response Toolkit with online guides, registers and policy templates and more.
  • Vulnerability and Threats of Harm Toolkit to assist you with clients who are in vulnerable circumstances.
  • A webinar library for professional development and training across a range of topics and technical skills.
  • Data and insights to help you understand causes, trends and common complaint issues involving FAPs.
  • Access to the Massey University short course in Complaint Response and Management, with a saving of $200+GST for Participants.

Step 1: Apply to join using the online application form.

Choose "Company" application type.

Step 2: When your IFSO Scheme membership is confirmed and you are issued your IFSO Scheme Participant number:

  • notify your current DRS of your resignation from their scheme;
  • update the FSPR to show the IFSO Scheme as your DRS;
  • update your website, staff training and client disclosure documents with the IFSO Scheme details (see the section below "Tell your customers about the IFSO Scheme" and use and adapt the templates supplied).

Step 3: If you are a licensed Financial Advice Provider (FAP) and have more than one Financial Adviser engaged by your FAP, use the online application form to add them to your FAP record created in step 1.

Choose "Individual" application type.

  • Your FSP nominated contacts (and for FAPs and all engaged Advisers) enjoy all the benefits of IFSO Scheme membership with a personal login to access the Participant Homepage and our online resources;
  • Your FSP will have nominated both a primary complaint contact and, a membership contact for secure updates via our online portal;
  • Any complaint received after you become an IFSO Scheme Participant will be handled by the IFSO Scheme.
  • Important note: any existing complaint, accepted by your prior DRS, will be completed by that DRS.

The IFSO Scheme's annual levy year is for the twelve months 1 July to 30 June. The IFSO Scheme will not charge your FSP for any period you have already paid to another DRS, including any amount paid to another DRS as part of your termination notice period*.

If a levy is due* at application, we will advise you and send out an invoice for the part levy year to 30 June. Payment is required before we issue your FSP an IFSO Scheme Participant number.

Levy Cost

Levies vary from category to category of FSP. Discounts are applied for larger FAPs and lenders, and minimum fees apply for smaller insurers. Please enquiry with membership@ifso.nz for the levies that apply to your FSP.

If you are a FAP and have additional Financial Advisers (or Nom Reps) that join you during the year, your FAP will only charged for that portion of the levy year that remains.

All Participants of the IFSO Scheme must tell their customers the IFSO Scheme is available to them, that our service is free of charge and our contact details. Complaint fees charged by the IFSO Scheme may not be passed on to customers.

  • Where information about your internal complaints process is on your website, ideally it should be accessible from the website homepage and/or complaints webpage.
  • Check your internal and external documents for references to the your dispute resolution scheme and replace it with the IFSO Scheme. In particular, check any internal complaint process documents and templates you have and any training material for your staff.
  • Check you are informing customers that the IFSO Scheme is available to provide them with a free complaint resolution service using either or both of your website or your contractual documents (see templated wording you can use for this below).

Suggested actions:

1. Add or change your disclosure regarding your Dispute Resolution Service e.g. on your website complaints webpage or "About Us" document, using the wording below.

[Insert name of your Financial Service Provider] are a Participant of the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme (IFSO Scheme).
You can refer your complaint to the IFSO Scheme if it has not been resolved after going through our complaints process. This is a free, independent dispute resolution service which will consider your complaint and, either reach an agreed outcome, or make a decision.

Contact details: Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme, www.ifso.nz or call freephone 0800 888 202, P O Box 10-845 Wellington 6143, New Zealand

2. Download our IFSO Scheme logo to accompany the wording above.

3. In addition, we suggest you tell your customers about your complaints process and the IFSO Scheme when your customers make complaints to you. In our experience, Participants are more successful at resolving complaints early when they provide clear complaints process information to their customers when they receive a complaint. Use this wording:

If we are not able to resolve your complaint through our internal complaint process, you can refer your complaint to the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme (IFSO Scheme). [Insert name of your Financial Service Provider] is a Participant of the IFSO Scheme. The IFSO Scheme provides a free, independent dispute resolution service to consumers. You can contact the IFSO Scheme by:

Email: info@ifso.nz Website: www.ifso.nz or make an online complaint. Freephone: 0800 888 202 Address: P O Box 10-845, Wellington 6143

About the IFSO Scheme

The IFSO Scheme has been approved by the Minister of Consumer Affairs to provide an external disputes resolution service for consumers with complaints about their financial services providers. Financial service providers are required to belong to a dispute resolution scheme. The IFSO Scheme has over 4,000 Participants and can formally investigate a complaint if it is about a Participant of the IFSO Scheme.

Since 1995, the IFSO Scheme has provided a free and independent service for thousands of consumers. Each year the IFSO Scheme responds to over 4,000 complaint enquiries and resolve over 350 complaints.

The templated complaint policy and processes are in MS Word format - which you can edit, tailor and brand to suit your business.

  • Complaint Process Template Documents - this document includes a template (pg 4) on how to publicise and promote your IDR and our services.
  • Download IFSO logo for your website: here
  • Download IFSO logo for Word Documents: here

The complaints register template is in MS Excel spreadsheet format - which you can edit and tailor to suit your business.

Note: When you are an IFSO Scheme Participant - all our templates and resources are available on our Template Library webpage.