Tuesday 20 February 2018

Competition boss Prasifka new Financial Services Ombudsman

Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

THE straight-talking chief executive of the Competition Authority was named yesterday as the country’s new Financial Services Ombudsman.

Bill Prasifka, a New York lawyer who has also served as the Commissioner for Aviation Regulation, replaces Joe Meade who retired last month.

The Financial Services Ombudsman rules on disputes between the public, the banks and other financial services companies. Under the terms of the legislation, he cannot name erring institutions despite uncovering despicable wrong doing since the ombudsman’s office was set up five years ago.

Around €60m has been returned to the public in those five years. Struggle In December, Mr Meade revealed a bank was forced to hand back €410,000 after it advised a 68-year-old woman to put more money into a property fund despite the fact that she had no pension and was working part-time.

Mr Prasifka, who will take up the post at the end of March, has struggled to secure convictions against businesses which the Competition Authority believed to be breaking the law.

The Supreme Court held against it in an appeal brought by the Irish League of Credit Unions and also rejected its attempts to prevent Kerry Group from taking over Breeo, the consumer foods company formed following the restructuring of Dairygold.

A rare victory which forced bar owners to abandon a oneyear price freeze on drink prices, left consumers scratching their heads and wishing the authority would spend its limited resources breaking other cartels.

Irish Independent

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