The Arbitrator for Financial Disputes (ACF), established by Consob with resolution no. 19602 of 4 May 2016, has been operational since 9 January 2017 and is an instrument for resolving disputes between investors classified as “retail” (savers) and intermediaries (Banks, SIM, SGR) for the violation of the obligations of diligence, correctness, disclosure and transparency that intermediaries must comply with when providing investment services or collective asset management services.
Savers who find themselves in a dispute with their intermediary for complaints concerning the alleged violation of the rules from which the aforementioned obligations derive, who have already filed a complaint with the intermediary without having received a reply in the following two months or if the reply has been unsatisfactory, may appeal to the Arbitrator for damages not exceeding 500,000 Euros.
Intermediaries are obliged to join the ACF and therefore the SGR has joined the ACF.
The ACF is a tool that allows the saver to obtain a decision on the dispute quickly, without cost and without the need for legal assistance. The ACF ensures impartiality and independence of judgment. If the saver is not satisfied with the decision, he can still apply to the judicial authorities. Applying to the ACF or other alternative dispute resolution system is a procedural condition for initiating judicial proceedings.
The right to appeal to the Arbitrator cannot be waived by the saver and can always be exercised, even in the presence of clauses on the devolution of disputes to other out-of-court settlement bodies contained in the contracts.
The SGR ensures that the complaints received will also be assessed in the light of the guidelines inferred from the decisions taken by the ACF and that, in the event of failure to accept, even partially, such complaints, the saver will be provided with adequate information on how and when to lodge an appeal with the Arbitrator.
The use of ACF is completely free for savers. The time taken to reach a decision is quick: the Arbitrator is required to close the dispute within a maximum of six months.
The ACF is a collegial body, in which the various components of the financial market are represented: in addition to the Chairman, there are four members, two of whom are indicated by Consob and two are representatives of consumer associations and the financial industry respectively.
On the website www.acf.consob.it savers can find in video format and through a special explanatory brochure all the information useful to understand who can use the Arbitrator, under what conditions, through what procedure and at what time.