Finance minister tells new financial services arbiter to seek 'effective and efficient remedy' for consumer complaints

Finance Minister Prof. Edward Scicluna addresses first meeting of the board of directors at the new financial services arbiter, a day after former Bank of Valletta chairman and Labour candidate Reno Borg is officially sworn in to the post.

Reno Borg (centre) sworn in as financial services arbiter
Reno Borg (centre) sworn in as financial services arbiter

Finance Minister Prof. Edward Scicluna has addressed the first meeting of the Board of Directors who will be running the newly set up financial services arbiter.

Former Bank of Valletta chairman and Labour candidate Reno Borg was officially sworn in as Malta’s first financial services arbiter yesterday, during a ceremony attended by finance minister Edward Scicluna and Attorney General Peter Grech.

As arbiter, Borg will be tasked with making legally-binding decisions on consumer complaints of financial service products, and will have the power to order up to €250,000 in compensation from financial operators.

Prof. Scicluna declared himself hopeful that the Board would “work efficiently to ensure the timely setting up of structures within the Office, in accordance with the law.”

He emphasised that the consumer must have an effective and efficient remedy for complaints. The law, Scicluna said, creates the necessary structures to investigate and analyse consumer complaints in a short time frame.

Borg,who has chaired the Malta Engineering Board, the Maltacom Disciplinary Board and the Malta Shipyards Appeals Board in the past, had unsuccessfully contested the 1996 general election on a Labour ticket, and was appointed BOV chairman following his party’s election to government. Upon the change in government in 1998, he was nominated by Labour to serve on the Broadcasting Authority – a position he retained until his nomination as financial services arbiter.

He denied that his political history risked undermining his independence. “I have been out of the political scene for 20 years now, and I was never accused of political discrimination during my time as BOV chairman,” he had told MaltaToday.

However, Opposition MP Kristy Debono warned that his appointment is “dictated by political patronage”.

As financial services arbiter, Borg will earn a salary of €65,000 – equivalent to that of a judge in the superior courts.

He will be assisted in his duties by an administration board composed of Geoffrey Bugeja and Peter Muscat, who were selected by the finance minister; and lawyer Anna Mallia, who was selected by the consumer affairs minister.