Participant Obligations

Participants of the IFSO Scheme are financial service providers who have certain obligations to their clients and customers.

Participants of the IFSO Scheme are financial service providers who have certain obligations set out in clauses 10 – 12 of the IFSO Scheme Constitution.

The Participants' key obligations are to:

  • Tell customers and clients about their complaints process
  • Tell customers and clients about the IFSO Scheme
  • Appoint a complaints contact person
  • Comply with any Award made by the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman
  • Comply with the IFSO Scheme Constitution and Terms of Reference.

Participants must tell their customers about their complaints process

Participants of the IFSO Scheme are required to have a proper complaints process and to publicise it to their clients and customers e.g. on their website or in their "About Us" document.

Participant must tell their customers about the IFSO Scheme

The IFSO Scheme contact information must be provided to customers on their website or in promotional material. Participants must tell their customers, in writing, that the IFSO Scheme is available to them and that it is free of charge.

We recommend to all Participants that their inform customers about the IFSO Scheme when customers make a complaint to them. In our experience, Participants are more successful at resolving complaints when they provide clear complaints process information to their customers when they receive a complaint.

Participant need to appoint a contact person for the IFSO Scheme

In the event of a complaint lodged with the IFSO Scheme, Participants must appoint a contact person regarding the complaint.

Participant's complaint fees

Any complaint fees charged by the IFSO Scheme to the Participant may not be passed on to customers.

When the IFSO Scheme determines a complaint is within its jurisdiction, a complaint fee is payable by the Participant where the complaint has been:

  • considered by the Participant's complaints process, and they were not able to resolve it, or
  • where the complaint is not resolved within 2 months of referral to the Participant, or
  • if no progress is indicated, the IFSO Scheme deems “deadlock” has been reached

Participant compliance with IFSO Scheme Awards

The IFSO Scheme decisions are binding on Participants but not on Complainants, unless a settlement is agreed by both parties. Participants must comply with any Award made by the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman which has been accepted by the Complainant.

Participants must give the IFSO Scheme at least 12 months’ written notice they are terminating their membership (see Clause 12.1 of the Constitution). This applies whether the Participant is retiring, leaving the industry, or moving to another dispute resolution scheme.

The IFSO Scheme is an incorporated society and can only consider complaints about its Participants. The notice period allows the IFSO Scheme to provide dispute resolution services for customers of Participants for a limited period of time, even though they may have exited the financial services sector or retired.

Any questions

Contact membership@ifso.nz or call 0800 888 202