Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Ombudsman is not effective - just good publicity

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The Financial Services Ombudsman was established to keep practitioners of financial services honest and accountable. According to the SMH Online, the FSO processed 23,790 complaints and resolved 90% of them. The problem of course is that when the Sydney Morning Herald says that the FSO resolved 90% of the complaints, it means that most people simply gave up trying to get any notion of justice. How can this occur? Well, there are several reasons:
1. The media are not interested in performing any investigating journalism; instead they simply take the claims of the FSO at face value. i.e. They receive a press release from the FSO, and within 30 minutes they have rewitten it into 'quality journalism'.
2. The FSO have no interest in solving problems...they are more interested in being perceived as solving problems. i.e. They really have no sense of their public profile. They perform no customer satisfaction surveys. They instead rely on their own internal statistics...which of course look impression 'on paper'.

The reality is far from the let me explain because I have been through the process:
1. The FSO is aware of the limits of government and does only what it can do. Problems outside of its control which relate to the nature of democracy are discarded by them or you as complainants.
2. The FSO only investigates whether the complainant has been injured under law. It does not challenge the veracity of the law. It can recommend changes to law, but normally this would be a revision to prevent abuse; not a recommendation for a new law which might imply that the banks are acting improperly. i.e. unethically, but legally. Sadly there is a difference.
3. The banks are only concerned with ensuring that they are acting in accordance with the law. Unfortunately its a low hurdle because they can resort to all manner of loopholes; because of the arbitrary nature of our legal system.
4. The FSO is don't expect it to take on two many cases. The problem for the FSO is that it can do, or does very little because of its limited budget. Basically its a post office boz which redirects complaints to pertinent departments, et al. i.e. Then you get a letter from them to tell you...they cannot do anything because the bank acted within the industry guidelines. You give up in frustration. Problem resolved. FSO 1 point, team complaints 'zero'.

The results look impressive from the perspective of government and the industry. The reality is not however the perceptions we have been lead to accept. You are being conned by a government that could care less; which only wants to avoid issues. They have no respect for facts. This is what you buy into when you sanction democracy. You are living in a tyranny; and you surrender your cash through the cowardly 'indirect' tax system because few people will honestly state that they no longer both to lodge a tax return, or that they stack it with deductions so that they effectively tax no tax. The salaryman with no deductions is a slave because the tax is taken out of their pocket. The role of corporations is to create the perception that they pay tax. The government has no interest in placing you in prison...its intent is to scare you into submission, and the business world helps them. i.e. The media helps them. Every tax season the Murdoch press scares you into submission by telling you 'the ATO is cracking down on capital gains tax this year'....blurrrhhh.....yawn...who cares. You are mad if you pay tax under this form of political least voluntarily. The GST probably represents about as much tax as anyone ought to pay...and I impose no expectancy on you because its their responsibility to justify such an assertion. Extorting you into voting for some collectivist regime, with two-party non-competition is not what I mean. I mean a negotiated or participatory system. Too inefficient? Too bad! When you want my put forward a reasonable proposal. I retain my sovereign right to do with my money as I want. I am only open to rational arguments...not extortion.
Andrew Sheldon
Resource Rent Tax
Applied Critical Thinking |

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