Function of the Conciliation Board
Pursuant to the Ordinance on the Financial Services Conciliation Board (Finanzdienstleistungs-Schlichtungsstellen-Verordnung, FSV) (Liechtenstein Law Gazette [LGBl.] 2009 No. 279 in the currently valid version) the extrajudicial Conciliation Board has jurisdiction for the resolution of disputes between financial services enterprises such as asset management companies, banks, securities firms, payment service providers, electronic money issuers, management companies, trustees or trust companies, and clients from countries outside the European Economic Area. Therefore, it only has jurisdiction with regard to clients without a domicile in an EU member state or other EEA member state, so that since 01.07.2017 this jurisdiction only still applies to clients from Switzerland, European countries which do not belong to the EU or the EEA, or from outside Europe.
Since 01.07.2017 the same extrajudicial Conciliation Board also has jurisdiction pursuant to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act (Alternative Streitbeilegungs-Gesetz, AStG) (Liechtenstein Law Gazette [LGBl.] 2016 No. 516) and the rules of procedure of 23.01.2018, approved by the government for this purpose, concerning disputes between consumers from an EU or EEA member state and an enterprise of any kind established in Liechtenstein in the financial services sector if this relates to a claim arising from a contract for valuable consideration which does not involve health services, public providers of further and higher education, non-economic services of general interest or contracts for sale of immovable property.
The Conciliation Board is available as a neutral mediation agency, which is free of charge for clients lodging a complaint, except for a contribution of CHF 50.00 towards costs in cases to which the AStG is applicable. It deals with specific complaints which are submitted by clients from countries outside the EU/EEA against institutions in the financial services sector mentioned in the FSV or, in AStG cases, against enterprises of any kind in the financial services sector, taking into account the abovementioned exceptions.
An essential prerequisite for an efficient and recognized conciliation board is its independence from institutions which may possibly be affected.
The Conciliation Board replaced the institution of the Banking Ombudsman on 30.10.2009. However, its sphere of activity covers a considerably broader spectrum of institutions. Apart from banks, it is also responsible for investment firms, asset management companies, payment service providers, trust companies, professional trustees and insurance brokers.
For the period from 01.11.2009 to 31.12.2021 the government appointed as Conciliator the attorney at law Dr. Peter Wolff, Vaduz, who had previously also officiated as Banking Ombudsman since April 2005.
Principles of the Conciliation Board
In order to ensure fair and transparent mediation proceedings, the Ombudsman adheres to the following principles:
Is the Conciliation Board bound by the duty of professional confidentiality?
The Conciliation Board is subject to the duty of professional confidentiality. The Ombudsman will contact the Bank only if the customer has indicated his consent.
Limitations of actions
Although the intervention of the client in the proceedings of the Conciliation Board does not give rise to a definitive interruption to the conciliation proceedings conducted in accordance with the AStG, this does cause a suspension of the commencement and continuation of the limitation period and of other time limits for the assertion of rights and claims affected by the proceedings.
In proceedings affecting clients with their residence or domicile outside the EU/EEA in accordance with the provisions of the FSV, limitation periods shall be neither interrupted nor suspended through the initiation of such conciliation proceedings.
Ordinance and rules of procedure
Rights and obligations of the Conciliation Board are set forth in the act of 27.10.2009 on the extrajudicial Conciliation Board in Financial Services (Finanzdienstleistungs-Schlichtungsstellen-Verordnung, FSV).
This Ordinance as well as the rules of procedure of 14.06.2016 are only applicable for proceedings concerning clients outside the EU/EEA.
Rights and obligations of the Conciliation Board concerning conciliation proceedings pursuant to the AStG are set forth in the Act of 04.11.2016 on Alternative Dispute Resolution in Consumer Matters (Alternative-Streitbeilegung-Gesetz, AStG) (Liechtenstein Law Gazette [LGBl.] 2016 No. 516 and in the rules of procedure approved by the government for this purpose on 23.01.2018.