The following information about complaints is provided for the purpose of assisting clients of supervised financial intermediaries (banks, asset managers, insurers, professional trustees, etc.) as well as other affected persons. It indicates whom to contact in the event of a complaint.
As the first step of a complaint, the FMA Liechtenstein recommends contacting the financial intermediary. A personal talk can clarify a problem and often help jointly find a solution.
If it is suspected that a criminal offence has been committed or that supervisory law has been violated, the following competent authorities should be informed directly.
In what cases is the FMA the competent authority?
The FMA is responsible for supervision and enforcement of the Financial Market Authority Act (FMA Act) and of the laws and associated implementing ordinances listed in article 5(1) of the FMA Act. It is competent in all cases involving financial market supervision law, especially:
- violations of supervision law by supervised financial intermediaries (e.g., failure to meet a permanent licensing condition);
- grievances requiring measures under supervision law;
- monitoring of the licensing requirement and the prohibition of activities subject to a licence on a professional basis by non-licensed persons (combating abuse);
- monitoring of the proper use of protected designations (e.g., the title of “professional trustee”).
In particular, the FMA is not competent for the preparation of legal opinions and advice or for resolving disputes under civil law. These services are provided by the lawyers licensed in Liechtenstein.
In what cases is the Conciliation Board the competent authority?
The extrajudicial Conciliation Board is responsible for settling disputes under civil law between clients and banks, investment firms, asset management companies, payment service providers, trust companies, and other financial intermediaries.
Its task is to mediate between the parties and to bring about an amicable settlement. If no settlement is reached, the parties are referred to the courts.
In what cases is the Professional Ethics Committee the competent authority?
The Professional Ethics Committee is responsible for exercising disciplinary power over professional trustees and trust companies if they violate the code of conduct (articles 68 et seq. of the Professional Trustees Act). The Professional Ethics Committee imposes disciplinary penalties and orders interim measures. The investigator, who performs the function of a prosecutor for the Professional Ethics Committee, is competent to receive complaints.
In what cases is the Office of the Public Prosecutor the competent authority?
Anyone who gains knowledge of a criminal offence is entitled to report it. The Office of the Public Prosecutor examines all reports it receives concerning criminal offences subject to ex officio prosecution. If there are sufficient reasons to initiate proceedings, it applies for authorization to initiate an investigation or it issues an indictment. Otherwise, it terminates the proceedings.
In what cases is the Court of Justice the competent authority?
In Liechtenstein, the Court of Justice is the ordinary court of first instance. It decides civil and criminal cases. The Court of Justice is responsible for punishing offences involving financial market supervision law.
How should complaints be filed with the FMA?
The FMA recommends filing complaints in writing by way of a letter or e-mail. To ensure efficient processing, the complaint should contain the following information:
Concerning the person filing the complaint:
- first and last name;
- contact information (address, telephone number, e-mail address).
Concerning the involved persons:
- first and last name or business name of the supervised financial intermediary or other person or entity;
- type of relationship (client, interested person, etc.).
Concerning the content (what is the complaint about?)
- description of the facts;
- reason for the complaint;
- any supporting documents (correspondence, account and custody account statements, contracts, investor profile, product information, advertising materials, etc.). Note: copies, no originals.
Date and signature
Complaints to the FMA must be addressed to:
Financial Market Authority Liechtenstein
P.O. Box 279
Notes on official secrecy, duty to report criminal offences, duty to inform foreign authorities, and deadlines
The organs and employees of the FMA are subject to official secrecy. The FMA is not permitted to provide additional information on the financial intermediaries supervised by the FMA or on any procedural steps taken. The FMA points out that complainants do not have standing as a party in any administrative (criminal) proceedings.
If the FMA gains knowledge of a criminal offence subject to ex officio prosecution, the FMA may be required to report the offence to the prosecution authorities. Information about the complainant may also be forwarded in such cases. As part of administrative assistance proceedings, the information may also be forwarded to foreign supervisory authorities.
A complaint to the FMA does not affect any legal or contractual deadlines (e.g., payment deadlines or statutes of limitation).