Final Touches to Financial Services Ombudsman Bill

NAMIBIA Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) has finalised the first draft of the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO) Bill.

Namfisa said in the 2014 Annual Report that the FSO Bill will be a separate piece of legislation from those administered by the authority and will have its administration authority headed by the Financial Services Ombudsman.

The Financial Services Ombudsman will be a statutory officer who deals independently with complaints from consumers about their individual dealings with all financial service providers, Namfisa said.

“The FSO Bill is currently undergoing its final round of reviewing with the Ministry of Finance. This process will be followed by wide consultations with the stakeholders,” Namfisa said.

The authority has completed 79 subordinate legislations to accompany the Financial Institutions and Markets (FIM) Bill.

“These regulations and standards are in layman’s draft format and will be converted into legal drafts. Once finalised, standards and regulations will go through industry review and consultations,” said Namfisa.

The report said regulations 15, 26, 27, 28 and 29 were promulgated in December last year with the effective date of 1 January 2014.

Regulations 15 and 28 are aimed at curbing excessive capital outflows and to encourage greater local investments by long-term insurers and pension funds. The regulations were amended to allow pension funds and insurers to invest a minimum of 1,75% and a maximum of 3,5% of the market value of their investments in unlisted investments.

Regulation 26 prescribes the administrative penalties that Namfisa may impose on pension funds which fail to comply with the Pension Funds Act while Regulation 27 in turn prescribes the rate of interest that pension funds should charge on housing loans granted to their members.

Regulation 29 provides a framework under which pension funds should deal with unlisted investments.

The Namfisa and FIM Bills are now with the legal drafters in the Ministry of Justice for finalisation.

“Once promulgated, the new law will provide Namfisa with adequate regulatory and supervisory powers. The promulgation of the FIM Bill will play a major role in the deepening and development of financial markets. This new legislative instrument allows for the flexibility and swift response to industry development which will lead to greater innovation in offering financial products and services to the benefit of both consumers and the financial institutions involved,” Namfisa said.

Namfisa is responsible for the regulation and supervision of about 486 financial institutions and 2 837 intermediaries. These institutions collectively manage assets in excess of N$170 billion.

Namfisa’s total income for the year ended 31 March 2014 was N$95,8 million and it generated gross surplus income of N$22,5 million. The total assets of the Authority increased to N$247,7 million, compared to N$217,1 million in the previous year.

Source : The Namibian