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    SAL-Fin, a solution for the benefit of the financial services consumer

SAL-Fin, a solution for the benefit of the financial services consumer

Bucharest, 15 March 2024 – The Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF) organised on Friday, 15 March 2024, at the Palace of Parliament, a symposium on Consumer Protection - the SAL-Fin Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism in the non-bank financial market, celebrating World Consumer Rights Day.

The conference highlighted that the general public has a simple, free and handy way, SAL-Fin, to quickly and effectively resolve any disagreements they may have with firms in the insurance, capital market or private pension market.

SAL-Fin conciliators are those who identify and propose solutions when neither the consumer nor the financial services provider can find a resolution to disputes that may arise during the course of a contract. More than 90% of SAL-Fin solutions have been accepted by the parties and consumers have often obtained more money than the companies' initial offers.

Beyond this practical aspect, SAL-Fin can also be considered a financial education approach, as it clearly contributes to a much better understanding of financial products and instruments.

”Protecting consumer rights and financial education are two strategic lines of action for ASF, which contribute equally to the stability and development of the markets supervised and regulated by the Authority. The road to a mature market needs the implementation of the whole set of strategic lines - from financial education to the modernisation of the legislative framework, from prudential supervision to digitalization”, said the Chairman of the Financial Supervision Authority, Mr. Alexandru Petrescu.

The symposium also highlighted the importance that alternative dispute resolution can have in creating a fair relationship between the consumer and the provider of non-bank financial products and services.

”Consumers must have at their disposal the most appropriate and rapid solutions for resolving disputes that may arise in their relationship with entities in the non-banking financial market. The SAL-Fin alternative dispute resolution mechanism is a real benefit for financial services users, an instrument that has proven its effectiveness in the eight years since its creation”, said Mr Gabriel Avrămescu, the First Vice-President of ASF.

The event organised by ASF brought together representatives of the Romanian Government, consumer protection authorities and associations, representatives of financial services consumer associations, professional associations from the non-banking financial market, as well as representatives of the financial education sector. Among the participants were Florin Spătaru, State Counsellor for Economic Affairs in the Prime Minister's Chancellery, Dan-Virgil Pascu, Vice-President of the Competition Council, Sebastian Ioan Hotca, Vice-President of ANPC, Alexandru Ciuncan, President of UNSAR, Horia Gustă, President of the Romanian Association of Fund Managers, Radu Hanga, President of the Bucharest Stock Exchange, Dorel Duță, President of UNSICAR and Sorin Mierlea, President of InfoCons.

SAL-Fin is the only alternative dispute resolution entity that organises and administers ADR procedures in the areas where ASF has jurisdiction and is the only national member of the European FIN-NET. The development of the SAL-Fin capacity is both to the benefit of consumers, by reducing the time it takes to resolve a case, and to the benefit of traders, who have at their disposal an efficient way of resolving potential disputes with customers.