Banking and finance

Spain's government completes the creation of the authority to protect financial clients

Published on 23rd Apr 2024

Spain's government completes the creation of the authority to protect financial clients

Close up of people in a meeting, hands holding pens and going over papers

The Council of Ministers in mid-March sent to the Spanish Parliament the draft law creating the Financial Customer Ombudsman's Authority, a regulation defined by the minister for economy, trade and enterprise, Carlos Cuerpo, as the "keystone" of the system for protecting and including financial customers.

The project was approved by the Lower House of Parliament in the previous legislature, but fell before its final adoption. The minister defended the fact that it responds to a "public demand".

Functional independence

The Financial Customer Ombudsman Authority has been set up as a body with functional independence for the out-of-court resolution of disputes between financial institutions and their customers.

Its launch completes the work carried out in recent years on the codes of good practice that financial institutions have imposed on themselves. The text strengthens the role of these protocols, assimilating them to rules of conduct, thereby making them mandatory.

Integrated authority

The current system for resolving disputes between financial institutions and customers consists of three successive levels: the institutions' customer services, the complaints services of the supervisory bodies – the Bank of Spain, the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) and the Directorate General for Insurance – and the courts.

The authority will integrate the functions of the supervisory bodies, allowing customers to submit their complaints free of charge and in an expeditious manner, as the maximum period for attention will be 90 days.

It will also resolve complaints regarding non-compliance with rules of conduct, good practices and protocols signed by institutions, including the unfairness of contractual clauses.

Osborne Clarke comment

The minister has pointed out that the scope of the new body will be very broad, covering all entities supervised by the Bank of Spain, the CNMV and the Directorate General of Insurance, fintech and crypto-asset services and consumer lending or real estate credit services.

The authority's decisions are binding when the amount claimed is less than €20,000. The body will be funded by a fee to be paid by financial institutions, which is intended as a "positive incentive", given that it will depend on the number of complaints against the institution and how many are resolved in favour of customers.


* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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