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Glossary

Financial Services Provider (FSP)

A Financial Services Provider is a provider of financial services that is a member of FOS. You can see a List of FOS’s Members on our website. Financial services include credit accounts and loans, deposit accounts, insurance policies, superannuation and investment products, and payment systems. Refer to FOS’s Terms of Reference for more information.

Primary business

Many Financial Services Providers (FSPs) sell various types of financial products. This column states an FSP’s primary business, as identified by the FSP itself.

Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS

The Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS is a measure of how likely a consumer was to come to FOS with a dispute about this type of product from this FSP between 1 January and 30 June 2010.
 

It is measured relative to the size of the FSP’s business in the product group. For example, for the product group Home Contents Insurance, the Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS is measured in terms of the number of disputes about an FSP relative to the number of home contents insurance policies the FSP has; and for the product group Consumer Loans, it is measured in terms of the number of disputes relative to the number of loan accounts an FSP has. This ensures that comparisons can be made between FSPs of different sizes.

The following rules were followed in calculating the Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS:

  • Business size was based on the number of in-force accounts or policies at the start of the reporting period (30 June 2009), as provided to FOS by each FSP.
  • If a product an FSP provided covered more than one type of product, such as combined or linked accounts/policies, these were counted in each of the products. For example, a linked bank account, credit card account and debit card account was counted as three accounts. The reason for this approach is to identify, or count, each product for which a dispute could be brought to FOS.
  • Jointly held accounts/policies were counted only once. For example, a home loan in the names of two people was counted as one account.
  • A case FOS handles that is about multiple products will be counted as one dispute for every product it is about – click here for further explanation of the way we count disputes.

If an FSP listed in a Comparative Table failed to send us data on the size of their business in that product group, we could not, unfortunately, calculate the Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS for this FSP. We have instead stated the actual Number of Disputes consumers brought to FOS about this FSP in this product group between 1 January and 30 June 2010.

Number of Disputes

The Number of Disputes is the number of disputes consumers brought to FOS about this FSP in this product group between 1 January and 30 June 2010.

The Number of Disputes is only listed for those FSPs that failed to send us data on the size of their business in this product group. For these FSPs, we could not calculate the Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS. We have included the Number of Disputes instead. Unfortunately, this means it is difficult to assess whether customers of this FSP in this product group were more or less likely to bring a dispute to FOS than the customers of the other FSPs in the table.

Average Length in the Resolution Process

The Average Length in the Resolution Process is a measure of how far through FOS’s process – i.e. what level of escalation – the disputes about this type of product from this FSP went before being resolved. It only covers disputes that were received and resolved in the period 1 January 2010 to 30 June 2010. Disputes that were brought to FOS in this period but not resolved before 30 June 2010 have been excluded.

It is not a measure of how much time it took for FOS to resolve disputes involving this FSP. The stages of FOS’s process do not last for set periods of time, and some are fast-tracked through our resolution process – for example, a dispute about an especially serious matter might be immediately handled by a FOS Ombudsman or Panel.

For some FSPs in some tables, the Average Length in the Resolution Process is blank. This means that none of the disputes that FOS received for this FSP in this product group between 1 January 2010 and 30 June 2010 were resolved by 30 June 2010. In other words, all the disputes were still being handled by FOS at the end of the period in question, so we could not say at what stage of the resolution process they were resolved. These disputes will be included in the data we use to calculate the Average Length in the Resolution Process figures for FSPs in the Comparative Tables for 2010–2011.

The stages at which a dispute can be resolved in FOS’s process are as follows:

1. Acceptance
At the Acceptance stage, FOS checks that the dispute falls within its jurisdiction. A dispute is resolved at acceptance if the FSP resolves the dispute directly with the consumer while FOS is making its assessment about jurisdiction.

2. Before Review
After FOS accepts a dispute, we give the FSP 21 days to either resolve the dispute directly with the consumer or provide a response about the dispute to us. A dispute is resolved before review if the FSP resolves the dispute directly with the consumer during the 21 days.

3. At Review
After the FSP sends a response to FOS about the dispute, FOS sends the response to the consumer. A dispute is resolved at review if the consumer accepts the FSP’s response and agrees to end the dispute.

4. Negotiation/ Conciliation/ Assessment
After FOS has received the FSP’s response to the dispute and sent it to the consumer, we will try to resolve the dispute using negotiation, conciliation or an initial assessment of the case. A dispute is resolved at negotiation/ conciliation/ assessment if the FSP and the consumer reach an agreement through these methods.

5. Recommendation
If a dispute is not resolved through negotiation, conciliation or an initial assessment of the case, then FOS will investigate the case further and write a formal Recommendation. A dispute is resolved at Recommendation if the consumer and the FSP accept FOS’s decision.

6. Determination
If either the consumer or the FSP rejects FOS’s Recommendation, FOS will make a final written Determination. This will be done by either an Ombudsman or by a panel appointed by the Chief Ombudsman. If the consumer accepts the Determination, it is binding on the FSP.

Please note that disputes that were resolved during the Registration stage of our process have been excluded. During the Registration stage we refer a dispute to the FSP and give them an opportunity to resolve it using their internal dispute resolution (IDR) process.

One our website you can find more detailed information on FOS’s resolution process. FOS also provides free E-Learning Modules that explain its process.

Outcomes of the Resolution Process

The Outcomes of the Resolution Process give a breakdown of the outcomes of the disputes about this FSP in this product group that were received by FOS and resolved between 1 January 2010 and 30 June 2010.

There are three main types of result: (1) a dispute can be resolved by agreement if the two parties can work out a resolution that they are both satisfied with; (2) a dispute can be resolved through a FOS decision, a formal written assessment of the merits of the case; or (3) a dispute can have an other outcome if the dispute is resolved by the FSP and the applicant without FOS’s involvement, withdrawn by the applicant or discontinued.

For some FSPs in some tables, every outcome category is blank. This means that none of the disputes that FOS received for this FSP in this product group between 1 January 2010 and 30 June 2010 were resolved by 30 June 2010. In other words, none of their disputes had outcomes during the period in question. These disputes will be included in the data we use to calculate the Outcomes of the Resolution Process figures for FSPs in the Comparative Tables for 2010–2011.
 

Click here for more information on FOS’s resolution process, including results.

Resolved by Agreement

A dispute is resolved by agreement if the consumer and the FSP work out a resolution to the dispute that they are both satisfied with. They can achieve this either by dealing directly with each other or by using FOS’s resolution methods (such as conciliation, negotiation and assessment).

FOS decision

A FOS decision is made if the consumer and the FSP are unable to agree on a resolution to their dispute, even with the help of FOS conciliation or negotiation. FOS will make a formal written decision, based on its assessment of the case. The decision will take into account all the information provided by the parties, what is fair in the circumstances, and any relevant laws and industry codes of practice. A FOS decision can take the form of either a Recommendation or a Determination.

For some FSPs in some tables, all three FOS decision categories are blank. This means that none of the disputes that FOS received for this FSP in this product group between 1 January 2010 and 30 June 2010 progressed to a FOS decision before 30 June 2010. Some of these disputes might progress to a FOS decision after 30 June 2010. These disputes will be included in the data we use to calculate the Outcomes of the Resolution Process figures for FSPs in the Comparative Tables for 2010–2011.

Click here for more information on FOS’s resolution process, including FOS decisions.

In Favour of Applicant

A FOS decision is made in favour of the applicant if FOS decides that the applicant (i.e. the consumer) has suffered a loss that the FSP was partly or fully responsible for and that the FSP should pay compensation or make amends in some other way.

FOS might award partial or full monetary compensation or non-monetary compensation. FOS can also require the FSP to take some specific action (such as changing the terms of a loan or other contract). FOS will seek to remedy the situation by putting the applicant in the position they would have been in if they hadn’t suffered the loss caused by the FSP.

In favour of FSP

A FOS decision is made in favour of the FSP if FOS decides that the FSP was not responsible for any loss suffered by the consumer. The FSP will not have to pay compensation or take any other action. The consumer, if they are unhappy with FOS’s final decision (called a Determination), can still take legal action regarding the matter.

Confirming FSP Offer

A FOS decision is made confirming the FSP offer if FOS decides that the original offer the FSP made to the consumer in an effort to resolve the dispute was fair. The FSP will need to pay the compensation or take the action they proposed in their original offer.

Other Outcome

A dispute has an other outcome if the dispute is resolved by the FSP and the applicant without FOS’s involvement or without notice to FOS, withdrawn by the applicant or discontinued.

Because the tables are based on only six months of data, the proportion of disputes with an “other outcome” is likely to be higher than the true figure. The “Outcomes” data only covers disputes that were received and closed within the six month period, which means there is bias towards outcomes that occur in the earlier stages of the FOS process, and disputes with an “other outcome” have usually closed in the early stages of the FOS process.

Median

The median is the middle point – half of the FSPs in the table are above it and half fall below it.