Banca Carige Group has been a member of the Arbitrator for Financial Disputes (hereinafter ACF) since its inception (9 January 2017). It is a system for the out-of-court settlement of disputes between retail investors and banks/intermediaries operated by CONSOB, which has defined its regulations and supports its operations.
The ACF is an effective means of protection for complainants because within a certain period of time (usually 180 days) and without procedural costs for the complainants themselves, it decides on the dispute and, if it recognises the responsibility of the intermediary, establishes the amount to be paid in favour of the damaged client.
WHO CAN USE THE ACF
The only persons entitled to use the ACF are retail investors (including companies, corporations and other entities) who do not possess any particular skills, experience or knowledge that are possessed by "professional" investors.
Investors can apply to the ACF when, on the same facts that are the subject of the complaint:
- other out-of-court dispute resolution procedures are not pending, even at the initiative of the intermediary to which the investor has subscribed
- have already lodged a complaint with the Bank without receiving an express response, or more than sixty days have elapsed since the lodging of the complaint without the Bank having communicated its determinations.
The right to appeal to this body cannot in any way provide the object of renunciation by the investor and is always exercisable, even if clauses for the devolution of disputes to other bodies for extra-judicial resolution have been inserted.
Investors who are not satisfied even with the Arbitrator's decisions may, however, resort to any other means of protection provided for by the law.
SCOPE OF APPLICATION OF THE ACF
Not all disputes can be assessed by the ACF. It is a point on which to be careful to avoid wasting energy in unnecessary appeals.
The ACF can only decide on disputes, not exceeding 500,000 euros, relating to the violation by intermediaries of the obligations of diligence, fairness, information and transparency that the legislation places on them when providing investment services and the service of collective management of savings.
Investment services are those activities that intermediaries offer in order to invest the client's savings in financial instruments (more commonly "securities").
The collective asset management service is offered by specific entities (SGRs, more rarely SICAVs or SICAFs) specifically authorised for this purpose, which invest the sums collected from several clients in securities according to a predetermined investment policy. A typical example is a securities mutual fund.
HOW TO APPLY TO THE ACF
The appeal must contain the name of the intermediary, a description of what is being complained of and a statement of the facts, as well as an indication of the amount that is being claimed from the intermediary.
You can lodge an appeal directly or through an attorney (typically a lawyer) or a consumer association: you are not obliged to rely on a third party.
USING THE ACF IS FREE OF CHARGE.
The appeal is filed online, via the ACF website (www.acf.consob.it), after registration. The program takes you step by step through the insertion of all the necessary information and allows you to upload documents, some of which are necessary (identity document of the claimant, complaint submitted to the intermediary and the relevant certificate of submission).
For the first two years, and therefore until 8 January 2019, it will be possible, for those who do not have the assistance of attorneys or consumer associations, to file the complaint in paper form, filling in a form that can be downloaded from the site and sending it to the ACF through the traditional channels (registered mail, PEC, etc.).
More information can be found at www.acf.consob.it