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CHAPTER 2

THE WEAPONS OF LAW

2.6.5Control and Containment —— Self Regulation: The Ombudsman Schemes
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Again, be aware that there is much overlap, in terms of categorisation as a credit product, investment product or insurance product, with many of the products on offer from Financial Services Institutions.

A particular Financial Services product could therefore come within the ambit of more than one Ombudsman Scheme. For example, Endowment Mortgages, which encompass all three categories, credit, investment and insurance, could come within the Self Regulatory ambit of both the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman Scheme and the Insurance Ombudsman Scheme.

And, post 1st November 2001, when the applicable provisions of the Irish Insurance Act 2000 came into effect, Endowment Mortgages also came under the direct Regulatory control of the Central Bank. This was the actual position, notwithstanding the fact that the Central Bank chose to do nothing on the matter, and allowed the existing Financial Services /  Life Assurance Institutions' Self Regulatory Schemes to continue to regulate on the basis of Terms of Reference contrived by those within these very Institutions to protect their own interests.





The Credit Institutions Ombudsman Scheme

Maintaining Control


In 1990, Credit Institutions operating in the Irish Financial Services Industry, through a Board of Directors assembled under their mandate, established the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman Scheme. This Scheme came into operation from 1st October 1990.

This Board of Directors (as assembled by the Credit Institutions), through the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman Scheme, established arrangements whereby an independent adjudicator, the Ombudsman, could deal with certain types of unresolved complaints against participating Credit Institutions.

This Board of Directors appointed a Council to monitor the functioning of the Scheme.


This Council duly appointed the Ombudsman, subject to such appointment being approved by the Board of Directors. The person appointed Credit Institutions' Ombudsman was Mr. Gerry Murphy, a barrister.

This Board of Directors' Council received the Ombudsman's Annual Reports, and approved and published these Reports.

This Board of Directors' Council was also charged with ensuring that the Ombudsman did not act outside his Terms of Reference.

 

BUT, while the Ombudsman was to, ostensibly, operate as an independent adjudicator, his Terms of Reference were set down by the Credit Institutions' Board of Directors.

DE FACTO, the Management Personnel within the Credit Institutions controlled the Terms of Reference under which the Ombudsman Scheme was to operate.

 

ALSO, while the optics were such that the Credit Institutions' Board of Directors appeared not to have a controlling influence over the Council, the Council appointed by the Board of Directors consisting of nine members of whom the majority in number were independent, the reality was very much different.

The contrived weighting of knowledge with respect to the complexities of Financial Services activities was such that there would never be any concerted affront, from within the appointed Council, to how Credit Institutions conducted their business in Ireland.

For, while the majority in number were independent, the majority of those appointed to the Council who would have knowledge of the intricate means by which financial services products were misrepresented to individual customers came from within the Credit Institutions themselves.


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The Board of Directors' Council published an Explanatory Leaflet, titled 'The Ombudsman for the Credit Institutions', which set out how the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman Scheme operated. (See Appendix 2/2.)

Copies of this Explanatory Leaflet were on display and made available to all customers in the public area of all participating Credit Institutions.

A copy of this Explanatory Leaflet was also posted out to a complainant following his first contacting the Ombudsman's Office.

 

The Council's Explanatory Leaflet set down, in specific detail, the list of matters which the Ombudsman was precluded from investigating and the required steps that had to be followed by a complainant before the Ombudsman could investigate a complaint.

 

Under the highlighted heading, 'ARE THERE ANY MATTERS WHICH THE OMBUDSMAN CAN'T INVESTIGATE ?', on the specific matter of the time constraints, the Council's explanatory leaflet stated:-

'The Ombudsman cannot deal with complaints which concern matters which came to light before 1st October 1990 or which happened more than six years before any complaint was made.’

 

Under another highlighted heading, 'HOW DO YOU BRING YOUR COMPLAINT BEFORE THE OMBUDSMAN ?', the Council's explanatory leaflet set down in detail a defined sequence by which an aggrieved customer must seek to have a complaint resolved :–

First, the matter must be brought to the attention of the Financial Institution concerned.

Then, if not resolved, the complainant must write to the Ombudsman, who will then direct him to write to a designated person at the Financial Institution's Head Office, who will review the complaint and try to resolve it. If not resolved, then the complainant must write to the Ombudsman to activate his investigation.

The Ombudsman will then start his investigation into the case and in due course will adjudicate on the matter.

 

In submitting his complaint to the Ombudsman, the complainant was directed by the Ombudsman's Office to also forward all correspondence with the Financial Services Institution on the matter.


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The system of Self Regulation was therefore such that the aggrieved customer / consumer had to follow a defined complaints procedure set down by the Financial Institutions within in their Terms of Reference, and submit his grievance, not on the objective basis of an informed awareness of what would constitute a breach of Common Law, or of Statute Law, or even of a Self Regulatory Code, but on a wholly subjective basis.

The Self Regulatory system was designed to ensure that each issue of complaint would be dealt with in isolation, and that there would be maximum-to-absolute containment with respect to any issue that could, if brought to public attention, or to the attention of the Prosecuting Authorities [the Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs (ODCA) and the Fraud Squad] expose a pervasive and systemic abuse of customers / consumers by those within the Financial Institutions.

This policy of ensuring containment was intrinsic to the Financial Services Institutions' Self Regulatory system and was therefore inherently manifest within the functioning of both the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman Scheme and the Insurance Ombudsman Scheme. In the context of both Schemes, this will be discussed further below under 'The Ombudsman Schemes: Ensuring Containment'.


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BUT, the Self Regulatory system was such that the contrived entity that was the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman Scheme also incorporated — within itself a perverse abuse of process.

 

Consider the following!

After two years of correspondence with them regarding my contention that they had misrepresented their Endowment Mortgage contract to me, the First National Building Society informed me (in April 1995) that if I was not satisfied with their response I could take the matter up with the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman.

I duly acquired a copy of 'The Ombudsman for the Credit Institutions' Explanatory Leaflet (this was the October 1992 issue of this Explanatory Leaflet).


The only information conveyed to the complainant in the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman's Explanatory Leaflet on the specific matter of the time constraints was that:-

'The Ombudsman cannot deal with complaints which concern matters which came to light before 1st October 1990 or which happened more than six years before any complaint was made.’


I had been trying through various channels for over a year to acquire the documentation critical to the formulation of my case against the First National Building Society, i.e. the documentation on which my decision to enter into a contract with them had been based, the most critical document being the 'Endowment versus Repayment' Mortgage Quotation presented to me (see Case 1 of Appendix 1/2) at my pre-contract meeting with the First National Building Society —— but my efforts proved fruitless.


I contacted the Ombudsman's Office in November 1996 and I was sent out a Complaint Form and a copy of the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman's Explanatory Leaflet.

This was the September 1995 issue of the Explanatory Leaflet. (See Appendix 2/2.)

The information conveyed to the complainant in the 1995 issue of the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman's Explanatory Leaflet on the specific matter of the time constraints was exactly the same as that in the 1992 issue (as cited above).


In December 1997, I wrote to the Ombudsman requesting that he investigate our complaint regarding the manner in which my wife and I had been induced to enter into an Endowment Mortgage contract.

In particular, my submission to the Ombudsman highlighted the fact that I could not fully present our case without discovery of critical documentation (see above) from the First National Building Society and I requested discovery of these documents through the Ombudsman's Office.

My submission to the Ombudsman contained (1) the completed Complaint Form, (2) a Letter to the Ombudsman (eighteen A4 typed pages) outlining our dealings with the First National Building Society and (3) a Book of Documentation (one hundred and ten pages, many of them hand written) comprising the correspondence relevant to our case.


The shocking reply from the Complaints Officer in the Ombudsman's Office stated:-

'The Ombudsman has now had an opportunity to consider your file and has asked me to say that he is precluded by his Terms of Reference from investigation of complaints, where the complaint is made to the Ombudsman more than six months after it has been responded to by the Senior Official designated to deal with complaints of the institution concerned.’


No such time limit is noted anywhere in the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman's Explanatory Leaflet, as issued in October 1992.

No such time limit is noted anywhere in the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman's Explanatory Leaflet, as issued in September 1995.

Nor was the existence of any such time limit conveyed to me by the Ombudsman's Office when I was forwarded a copy of the September 1995 issue Explanatory Leaflet in December 1996.


On 4th March 1998, I wrote again to the Ombudsman highlighting these facts and the covert nature of the preclusion clause by which he had refused to investigate our complaint. I also informed him that I had written directly to the First National Building Society (on 23rd January 1998) seeking their disclosure to me of the critical documentation I required and that their response was that they would deliberate on the matter. I asked that the Ombudsman reconsider his stance with regard to our case and, in particular, that he pursue our request for disclosure of the critical documentation I required from the Building Society. But my pleadings were to no avail.


That such a covert preclusion clause should have existed within the Ombudsman's Terms of Reference —— over a period of 6 years (by this stage) —— and through three successive versions of the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman's Explanatory Leaflet issued by the Board of Directors' Council —— and to the definite knowledge of the Ombudsman himself —— and yet not be brought to the attention of the complainant, shows a deliberate continuation of what can only be described as a downright perverse abuse of process!

But this preclusion clause, whereby the complainant was denied access to the Ombudsman Scheme unless his complaint was submitted within a six month time limit that he was completely unaware existed, continued to provide yet another rampart of defence for the controlling Financial Institutions.

At each successive renewal by the Board of Directors' Council of the issue of the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman's Explanatory Leaflet, a conscious decision was therefore made not to bring the existence of this, very much material, preclusion clause within the Ombudsman's Terms of Reference to the notice of customers /consumers.

That each and every one of the Board of Directors' Council and the, presented as independent, Ombudsman, who was himself a barrister, should continue by their silence to condone such an abuse of process — shows where the real control of the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman's Office lay.


Note! In the case of the Insurance Ombudsman Scheme (related below), this 6 months time constraint was clearly set down in the Insurance Ombudsman's Explanatory Leaflet, where it stated that 'You may refer your dispute to the Ombudsman: Provided —— you do so within six months of having received written confirmation from the company that no settlement has resulted'. The Insurance Ombudsman Scheme was set up in March 1992 and, when one considers the fact that all of the major Financial Services Institutions in Ireland were both Credit Institutions and Life Assurance Institutions, it is reasonable to conclude that the decision not to bring this preclusion clause within the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman's Terms of Reference to the knowledge of the customer / consumer were made with conscious knowledge.







The Insurance Ombudsman Scheme

Maintaining Control


In Ireland, the Irish Insurance Federation (IIF) was the representative body for those dealing in Insurance products of all kinds, including Life Assurance products.

NOTE!  In this website-book, our primary concern with respect to the operation of the Insurance Ombudsman Scheme is to the extent that the Insurance Ombudsman was empowered to regulate the activities of the Life Assurance Institutions.


In 1992, through a Board of Directors assembled from the Insurance / Life Assurance Industry under its mandate, the Irish Insurance Federation (IIF) established the Office of the Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland. The Insurance Ombudsman Scheme came into operation from March 1992.

This Board of Directors (as assembled by the Irish Insurance Federation) established that the Insurance Ombudsman could 'receive references in relation to complaints, disputes and claims made in connection with or arising out of policies of insurance' (these included such matters in respect of Life Assurance policies) and it appointed a Council to monitor the functioning of the Insurance Ombudsman Scheme.

This Council duly appointed the Insurance Ombudsman, subject to such appointment being approved by the Board of Directors. The person appointed Insurance Ombudsman was Ms. Paulyn Marrinan-Quinn, a barrister.


This Board of Directors' Council received the Insurance Ombudsman's annual reports, and approved and published these reports.

This Board of Directors' Council was also charged with ensuring that the Ombudsman did not act outside her Terms of Reference.

BUT, as had been the case with the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman Scheme, while, ostensibly, the Insurance Ombudsman was to operate as an independent adjudicator, her Terms of Reference were set down by the Board of Directors that had been assembled by the IIF from the Insurance / Life Assurance Institutions.

DE FACTO, the Management Personnel within the Insurance / Life Assurance Institutions controlled the Terms of Reference under which the Ombudsman Scheme was to operate.


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The operation of the Insurance Ombudsman Scheme was set out in an Explanatory Leaflet, titled 'Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland', issued by the Insurance Ombudsman's Office. (See Appendix 2/3.)

This Explanatory Leaflet set down the determining constraints to be complied with by the complainant before a dispute could be referred to the Insurance Ombudsman.

 

In highlighted heading, the Insurance Ombudsman's explanatory leaflet stated:-

You may refer your dispute to the Ombudsman:

After your dispute or claim has been processed through the company's internal complaints procedures and the company has confirmed in writing that no agreed settlement has resulted.

Provided you refer your dispute to the Ombudsman within six months of having received written confirmation from the company that no settlement has resulted.


Critically, while the Office of the Insurance Ombudsman was, ostensibly, set up by the Insurance / Life Assurance Institutions to provide independent settlement of disputes, its Terms of Reference were contrived by the Life Assurance Institutions to ensure that the key elements within their Life Assurance products, that would, ultimately, feed into the commission Gravy Train and further the personal financial interests of their Management Personnel, could not be questioned.



For, notwithstanding the stated independence of the Office and the proven knowledge of Law the person holding the Office may possess, the Terms of Reference expressly stipulated that "the Insurance Ombudsman was not empowered to in any way entertain or even comment upon a matter of dispute about Life Assurance referred to it by a consumer, where such dispute concerns the actuarial standards, tables and principles which the Life Assurance Company applies to its insurance business, including, in particular (but without being limited to), the method of calculation of surrender values and policy values, and the bonus system and bonus rates applicable to the policy in question".



Note! As we shall see in later Chapters, it is by the application of such 'so called' actuarial standards & principles that the Life Assurance Companies, furtively, leech unearned profit from the investments of the customer / consumer.



Also, the Terms of Reference set down by the Insurance / Life Assurance Institutions severely restricted the determinant factors that could give rise to an award by the Insurance Ombudsman and expressly stipulated that no award could be made by the Insurance Ombudsman (in relation to any complaint, dispute or claim) in respect of any matter other than :–

the payment or part payment of a claim under the policy contract.

adjustment of the policy monies consequent upon the surrender or cancellation of the contract or part thereof, where there is miscalculation of the adjustment under the relevant policy terms and/or industry practice.

 

And so, under the Insurance Ombudsman Scheme, the Self Regulation System in operation for the Life Assurance Industry was such that the illusion was imparted to the public at large and to the unsuspecting legal profession that there was positive Regulation of the Life Assurance Industry by the Insurance Ombudsman's Office, while the Terms of Reference imposed by the Life Assurance Institutions were very much contrived to ensure that the systemic abuses of Law by which they operated would never be called into question.


When it came to the key elements by which the Life Assurance Institutions and their Management Personnel syphoned off money from the investments of customers / consumers, the Life Assurance Institutions ensured that they retained absolute control over the functioning of the Office of the Insurance Ombudsman.


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Again, as with the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman Scheme, the system of Self Regulation was such that the aggrieved customer / consumer had to follow a defined complaints procedure set down by the Financial Institutions within in their Terms of Reference, and submit his grievance, not on the objective basis of an informed awareness of what would constitute a breach of Common Law, or of Statute Law, or even of a Self Regulatory Code, but  on a wholly subjective basis.

Again, the Self Regulatory system was designed to ensure that each issue of complaint would be dealt with in isolation, and that there would be maximum-to-absolute containment with respect to any issue that could, if brought to public attention, expose a pervasive or systemic abuse of customers / consumers by those within the Insurance / Life Assurance Institutions.

As already related, the policy of ensuring containment was intrinsic to the Financial Services Institutions' Self Regulatory system. In the context of both the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman Scheme and the Insurance Ombudsman Scheme, this will be discussed further below under 'The Ombudsman Schemes: Ensuring Containment'.

 

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NOT ONLY did those within the Insurance / Life Assurance Institutions control the functioning of the Insurance Ombudsman Scheme through the constraints set down by them within their Terms of Reference, ————— BUT, it would appear, from the assertions made in a public letter by a member of the Board of Directors' Council, that they also sought to exert a controlling influence over the very Office of the Ombudsman itself.


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Ms.Paulyn Marrinan Quinn, the Insurance Ombudsman appointed from the outset of the Scheme, was very much her own woman, and fought bravely to assert a true independence in the functioning of her Office.

Unfortunately, the controlling interests of those within the Insurance / Life Assurance Institutions saw fit to oust her.

At a meeting of the Board of Directors' Council on 10th July 1997, the Council members present, unanimously, decided not to renew the Insurance Ombudsman's contract.

 

But for one member of the Council, Mr. Bill Loughlin, who was not present at the meeting when the Board of Directors' Council unanimously decided not to renew Ms. Paulyn Marrinan-Quinn's contract, this was the final straw.

Mr. Loughlin decided to break with the customary acquiescent silence of the Board of Directors' Council.

On 5th February 1998, Mr. Loughlin issued a public letter that shed an explosive light on the functioning of the Insurance Ombudsman Scheme.

Mr. Loughlin's letter stated that the Insurance / Life Assurance Industry had been trying to manoeuvre the workings of the Office of the Ombudsman to ensure that its own interests remained paramount and that, having made his concerns about the problem with the scheme repeatedly known to the Council, the Board, the Insurance Federation and to individuals within the Insurance Industry —— to no avail, he had no option but to resign from the Council.

 

The outrageous shenanigans brought to public attention by Mr. Loughlin's public letter were debated at length in both the Upper (The Senate) and Lower (The Dáil) Houses of the Irish Parliament. (See Appendix 2/4.)

In his public letter, Mr. Loughlin stated:

"Paulyn has resisted this unrelenting bullying from the moment she took up her Office.  ......  The classic types of bully are featured on the Council and the Board which are in openly admitted collusion; their purpose being to control and subjugate, their methods thriving on secrecy. ......

Apart from the control of the Council by the Board already noted (in contravention of the very concept of their separate identities) and the control of the Ombudsman sought to be exercised by the Board (by withholding funds), there included the following :–

infringement of the Ombudsman's independence in attempting to influence the content of her Annual Reports;

further infringement of the Ombudsman's independence in advertising for, selecting and insisting on an extra staff member contrary to the Ombudsman's wishes and outside her management;

and a review of the Terms of Reference, memorandum and articles of association so that the Council (effectively the Board) would have a formal schedule of matters reserved to it so that the control of the company (The Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland Ltd.) is firmly in its hands."


 

In August 1998, the Insurance / Life Assurance Industry's Board of Directors' Council appointed a new Insurance Ombudsman, Ms. Caroline Gill, also a barrister, and the former Chief Executive of the Consumer Association of Ireland.



 

As already related, following the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman's invoking of the covert 6 month preclusion clause within his Terms of Reference, I wrote to him again on 4th March 1998 asking that he reconsider his stance with regard to our case and that he pursue our request for disclosure of the critical documentation I required from the First National Building Society.

But, by this time, the issues raised by Mr. Loughlin in his February 1998 letter (see above) had come to light through the public media, so I also set about seeking assistance and guidance from the Insurance Ombudsman, Ms. Paulyn Marrinan-Quinn.

While my efforts to exhort the assistance of the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman were ignored, the Insurance Ombudsman, Ms. Paulyn Marrinan-Quinn, was most helpful.

 

But even with the intervention of the Insurance Ombudsman, both Irish Life and First National frustrated and delayed the complete and truthful provision of the critical information requested by me.

I just could not get them to provide me with the most critical document, the 'Endowment versus Repayment' Mortgage Quotation (see Case 1 of Appendix 1/2) on which my decision to enter into an Endowment Mortgage contract had been based.


Bear in mind that the Insurance / Life Assurance Institutions' Board of Directors' Council had already decided not to renew Ms. Paulyn Marrinan-Quinn's contract and that she was to be replaced as Insurance Ombudsman by the end of August 1998!



It was only following from a direct written request by the Insurance Ombudsman to the Chief Operating Officer of Irish Life Assurance and from further specific clarifications requested by me on foot of same, that I finally, in October 1998, received the most critical document necessary to the formulation of my case, i.e. the 'Endowment versus Repayment' Mortgage Quotation presented to me at my pre-contract meeting with the First National Building Society. (See Section 1.2: The Experts’ Advice and Representations.)






NOTE!

On 21st September 1998, I submitted a completed Complaints Form to the Insurance Ombudsman, Ms. Caroline Gill.

The contention set down in our Complaints Form was that my wife and I were induced into choosing an Endowment Mortgage in preference to a Repayment Mortgage on foot of:-

(1)

—— negligent / fraudulent Misrepresentation by Irish Life Assurance and their Tied Agent, First National Building Society.

(2)

—— misleading information presented by Irish Life Assurance and their Tied Agent, First National Building Society.

(3)

—— failure by Irish Life Assurance and their Tied Agent, First National Building Society, to disclose and highlight covert penal elements within the Endowment Mortgage Contract.

(4)

—— breach by Irish Life Assurance and their Tied Agent, First National Building Society, of Statutory requirements incumbent upon them.

(5)

——  failure by Irish Life Assurance and their Tied Agent, First National Building Society, to act for "our good" when giving me their "expert advice".



No Legal Argument or Financial Analysis Argument was presented with the Complaints Form as submitted.


I clearly stated in the cover letter to the Complaints Form (and it was also clearly indicated within the Complaints Form itself) that it would take me some time to complete the full formulation of our Case and that I was submitting the Complaints Form in the belief that my doing so would enable the Insurance Ombudsman to progress to the 'investigation stage' of the Case.

 

On 2nd November 1998, the Insurance Ombudsman wrote to me stating that 'she would be in contact with me should she require any further information.


BUT ——  no such further information was requested by the Insurance Ombudsman.

 

Without any further inquiry to me in respect of substantiation of the many, what-should-have-been-alarming, contentions set down in our Complaints Form, the Insurance Ombudsman issued her Decision on 20th April 1999, wherein she stated:

I have looked at some of the issues involved, which I consider within my Terms of Reference, but cannot justify a Ruling in favour of the Complainants.

One issue is the operation of Charges and Unit Allocation under the Policy. I am satisfied that the Company [Irish Life Assurance] operated the policy in accordance with its Terms and Provisions.

The other is Illustrations Given – it is important to note that illustrations are merely illustrations and not a guarantee; but the figures appear to be on target to meet the primary objective of the policy, that is to repay the Mortgage.

However, the Complainants have raised a number of complex matters and are seeking remedies, for example, penal damages, which are clearly outside my Remit. I am therefore of the view that Clause 5 of my Terms of Reference apply. Clause 5(k) reads: "in the opinion of the Ombudsman, and at his absolute discretion, would be more appropriate to be dealt with by a Court of Law".

The complaint is Outside Terms of Reference.





The Ombudsman Schemes

Ensuring Containment


In respect of both the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman Scheme and the Insurance Ombudsman Scheme, the Self Regulatory System for dealing with customers' / consumers' grievances was such that the individual customer / consumer had to present his case on a stand alone basis.


No information regarding what would constitute a breach of any of the Self Regulation Codes issued by the Financial Services Institutions, the Life Assurance Institutions, or the Insurance Institutions, was provided by the respective Ombudsman's Office to the complainant.

Nor was there any information provided by the respective Ombudsman's Office to the complainant regarding what would constitute a breach of Common Law or Statute Law by a Financial Services Institution, Life Assurance Institution, or Insurance Institution.

Nor, more importantly, was there any information regarding the Common Law duties of care and disclosure, incumbent upon such Institutions with respect to their dealings with customers / consumers, imparted by the Ombudsman's Office to the complainant.


Nor was the fact made known by the respective Ombudsman's Office to the complainant that, under the Common Law,  the burden of proof —— that all material facts had been made known to him and that the contract he was entering into had to be to his advantage rests with the Financial Services Institution, the Life Assurance Institution, or the Insurance Institution, as the case may be. (See Section 2.3.4: The Duty to Disclose and Silence as a Misrepresentation.)

Nor was there any process of discovery of documents incorporated within the respective Ombudsman Scheme. It was very difficult for a complainant to present a case when most of the critical and objective documentation on which the case would be based was in the possession of the Financial Services Institution, Life Assurance Institution, or Insurance Institution, againt whom he was making the complaint. Such critical and objective documentation would include the Quotation Examples, Product Brochures, etc., that had been used by the Financial Services Institution, Life Assurance Institution, or Insurance Institution, to induce the complainant to enter into a contract in the first place.



The individual customer / consumer had therefore to present his case to the Ombudsman from a state of ignorance, with no information whatsoever provided to him as to what was right or wrong in the matter of how the Financial Services Institution, Life Assurance Institution, or Insurance Institution, should have conducted itself in its dealings with him.

The Self Regulatory System, as applied through the Credit Institutions' Ombudsman Scheme and the Insurance Ombudsman Scheme, was therefore such that the Financial Services Institutions, the Life Assurance Institutions, and the Insurance Institutions, were able to successfully maintain their status quo of 'control and containment'.

By keeping the issues of complaint isolated to each individual, and by channelling these complaints towards their own Self Regulatory System, a system where they exerted direct control over the Terms of Reference and a controlling influence over what was to be approved and published in the Ombudsman's Annual Reports, the Financial Services Institutions, the Life Assurance Institutions, and the Insurance Institutions, were able to ensure that there would be no general awareness among customers / consumers / clients of 'what was going on?'.

They were also able to ensure that the systemic use of fraudulent misrepresentation, as the means by which customers / consumers / clients were induced to enter into contracts with them, would never come to the knowledge of the Prosecuting Authorities [the Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs (ODCA) and the Fraud Squad].

 

And if the substance of any issue of complaint from an isolated individual was such that it could, by the matter being taken to another level outside their control, expose any pervasive or systemic misrepresentations by which the Financial Services / Life Assurance / Insurance Institutions induced customers / consumers to enter into certain contracts, this potential exposure could be nipped in the bud, thus ensuring containment.

The cost of appeasing one such isolated individual was miniscule in comparison to the vast monetary rewards to be gained by channelling consumers towards products that, by their covertly syphoned commissions, were geared towards the personal enrichment of those within the Financial Services / Life Assurance / Insurance Institutions.

Note! In the case of Life Assurance and similar type investment products, such as Endowment Mortgages, the capacity for personal enrichment by the misrepresentation of such products was vast.

 

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