There are eight State Boards under the aegis of my Department. They are the Central Bank Commission, the Credit Union Restructuring Board, the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman, Home Building Finance Ireland, the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, the National Asset Management Agency, the National Treasury Management Agency and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland. For seven of these Boards, there has been no appointment in the past three years of persons who have already served two full terms.
The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) was established on 1 January 2018. Under the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Act 2017, a member of the Council shall hold office for such period not exceeding five years from the date of his or her appointment as the Minister for Finance may determine. On the establishment day, the Financial Services Ombudsman’s Bureau, the Financial Services Ombudsman Council and the office of the Pensions Ombudsman were dissolved. All functions that, immediately prior to the establishment day, were vested in the Financial Services Ombudsman or the Pensions Ombudsman were transferred, on and from the establishment day, to the FSPO.
Following a competition conducted by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) in 2016 in line with the Guidelines for Appointments to State Boards, four candidates were appointed to the Financial Services Ombudsman Council, each for a five-year term effective from 9 January 2017. One of these candidates, Mr Dermot Jewell, had already served as a member of the Council since 2004 and was reappointed in line with Section 13.1 of the Guidelines which states:
“The selection of the candidates to appoint from the list is solely and exclusively a matter for the relevant Minister in light of the objectives of the revised appointments system to ensure that State Boards have an appropriate mix of the experience, knowledge and skills to successfully oversee the performance of the Board’s functions.”
One further successful candidate appointed from the 2016 PAS competition, Ms Elizabeth Walsh, had been a serving member of the Financial Services Ombudsman Council. Ms Walsh was appointed to the Council in 2013 for a two-year term or until the merger of the Financial Services Ombudsman with the Pensions Ombudsman had been completed, whichever was the sooner. As the FSPO was ultimately established in January 2018, Ms Walsh was reappointed for a further term in 2015 prior to her successful candidacy in the 2016 competition.
The seven existing Council members, including those appointed from the 2016 competition, remained in place to serve on the board of the FSPO following the amalgamation of the Financial Services Ombudsman and the Pensions Ombudsman.