What is ‘Ombudsman’

An official who investigates complaints (usually lodged by private citizens) against businesses, financial institutions and/or the government. An ombudsman can be likened to a private investigator; although the decision is not typically binding, it does carry considerable weight with those who are sanctioned to uphold the rules and regulations pertaining to each specific case. When appointed, the ombudsman is typically paid via levies and case fees.

Explaining ‘Ombudsman’

One high-profile case featuring an ombudsman, was the European Commission’s antitrust action against Intel in 2009. After European Union antitrust regulators fined Intel over a billion dollars in May of that year, an ombudsman claimed that he had “found maladministration” in the commission’s investigation of the chip maker. The ombudsman pointed out that the commission had failed to properly document a meeting with Dell Inc. in 2006 that was relevant to the case.

Further Reading

  • The Ombudsman: The “Wicked” Environment of CEO Pay – [PDF]
  • On Financial Ombudsman System in UK and Protection of Consumers' Rights and Interests——comment on our financial regulations [J] – [PDF]
  • Accountability or expectations management? The role of the ombudsman in financial regulation – [PDF]
  • Exchange without capture: The UK financial ombudsman service's struggle for accepted domain – [PDF]
  • Juggling conflicting demands: The case of the UK financial ombudsman service – [PDF]
  • A comparative analysis of the financial ombudsman systems in the UK and Japan – [PDF]
  • Revisiting “freely given informed consent” in relation to the developing world: role of an ombudsman – [PDF]
  • Australia Financial Ombudsman Service Mechanism and Its Protection on Consumers [J] – [PDF]
  • A complainant's view of the local government ombudsman – [PDF]