Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Ceisteanna (178)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

178. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the number of requests for additional funding, staff resources or expertise that have been made by the Office of the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman since January 2016; the purpose of the requested additional funding, staff resources or expertise; the response of his Department to each request in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13146/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Office of the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman only came into existence on 1 January 2018. Prior to this, staffing in the Financial Services Ombudsman Bureau did not require the consent of the Minister for Finance so there were no such requests in 2016 or 2017.

Section 15 (4) of the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Act 2017 provides

“The Ombudsman, with the approval of the Minister and the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, shall determine—

(a) the terms and conditions of employment (including terms and conditions relating to remuneration and allowances) of staff appointed under this section, and

(b) the grades of the staff of his or her office and the numbers of staff at each grade.”

I can confirm that there have been no requests for my approval of additional staff since the start of the year.

Section 3(2) of the Act provides

"(2) The expenses incurred by the Ombudsman in the performance of his or her functions

under this Act—

(a) in so far as they relate to the investigation of complaints regarding financial service providers shall be paid out of moneys provided by the financial services industry levy, and

(b) in so far as they relate to the investigation of complaints regarding pension providers shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas."

Section 43 (4) provides that that "The Council shall, with the consent of the Minister, prescribe by regulation the financial services industry levy to be paid having regard to the expenditure incurred or reasonably expected to be incurred by the Office in relation to complaints received by the Office in relation to financial service providers." The Council has not, as yet, sought my consent to regulations.

Section 16 (1) provides that

"The Ombudsman may, with the approval of the Minister and with the consent of the

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, from time to time engage such consultants or advisers as he or she considers necessary for the performance of his or her functions." I can confirm that there have been no requests for my consent under this section as yet.