A record 2021 for the compensation paid to savers by theArbitrator for financial disputes (Acf), the body established at the Consob for the out-of-court settlement of disputes between intermediaries and their customers. With 35.88 million euros returned to the pockets of savers last year a new high was reached compared to the 28.9 and 15.77 million euros paid respectively in 2020 and 2019. Thus, the total amount of reimbursements decided by the ‘Acf in its first five years of operation.
The rate of acceptance of appeals also increased in 2021 (69.4%, compared to 30.4% rejected), with an average in the five-year period of 67.3% of appeals accepted and 32.7% rejected.
Business volumes are growing
In addition, the volumes of the activity are growing strongly, with a reduction in instructor and decision-making times by almost 40% in 2021 compared to previous years. Therefore, the goal of eliminating the backlog accumulated in the first three years of activity by the end of 2022 has been confirmed, following some cases of betrayed savings that have seen the ACF heavily engaged since the start of its activity in January 2017.
These are some of the most salient data that emerge from an initial summary of the work carried out by the Arbitrator in 2021. The overall value of the compensation requested remains significant, reaching just over 81 million euros in 2021, with an average appeal of over 51 thousand euros. The minimum request was € 10.92; the maximum amount of 500,000 euros, corresponding to the maximum value pertaining to the ACF. Overall, in the five-year period 2017/2021, 8,695 appeals were received, with requests for compensation for over 480 million euros (approximately 56 thousand euros, on average, per appeal).
Decision-making activity is constantly growing
In 2021, the Board held 71 meetings (53 in 2020, 46 in 2019, 45 in 2018, 27 in 2017), taking over 1,600 decisions (about 1,100 in 2020), to which must be added the inadmissibility / inadmissibility decisions, taken directly by the President (219 in 2021, down compared to previous years) and those of extinction due to an agreement between the parties (242 in 2021, positively up compared to 212 cases in 2020 and 194 in 2019).
In all, 2,107 proceedings were concluded in 2021, compared to 1,582 incoming appeals, thus bringing the number of appeals defined in the 2017/2021 five-year period to 7,373. As of December 31 last, the number of decisions published and freely available at www.acf.consob.it rose to 4,868 (they were 3,302 as of December 31, 2020).
The rate of fulfillment of the decisions of the arbitrator – remember, not binding – remains high. The percentage of spontaneous execution of ACF decisions is close to 97% of cases and is in trend and constant growth. The figure is net of the decisions referring to banks placed in liquidation or resolved in the 2015/2017 two-year period, which – as is known – were implemented through forms of public intervention by law as well as by some popular banks issuing equity securities characterized by situations of marked illiquidity .
Confirmed in quantitative terms the prevalence of applicants resident in the north of the country (42.6%), closely followed by residents in the southern regions (38%), while savers in central Italy (18.6%) and marginal ones remain far apart the presence of applicants residing abroad (0.8%). These data are consistent with those recorded over the entire five-year period.
Assistance from an attorney
The percentage of savers who opt for the assistance of a proxy is still high: 72% of applicants in 2021 compared to a five-year average of 66%. The data takes on a signaling value of the difficulties that many retail investors still encounter in becoming promoters and, above all, first-person guardians of their rights; more generally, it represents a litmus test of the still unsatisfactory level of financial literacy of large sections of the population. To remove these criticalities, the ACF intends to make its own contribution in the light of the application experience gained by now, through the implementation, already in 2022, of targeted initiatives that go in the direction of increasing the level of awareness of small savers, overcoming their distrust and promoting better participation in the economic life and development of the country.
The intermediaries agreed before the Arbitrator were 87 in 2021; 201 in all those involved in the entire five-year period, compared to 1,204 intermediaries adhering to the Acf system.
The decision fulfillment rate is an aspect to which the Arbitrator has given special importance since 2017, since it is the first parameter for assessing the degree of effectiveness of the service provided. This is why it will continue to be carefully monitored also in the future, above all through the argumentative and motivational quality of the decisions. At the same time, it remains important that intermediaries, but also savers themselves, continue to identify in the ACF the suitable instrument for the definitive solution of any dispute. This is also consistent with the enhancement process of the Adr instruments, which represents one of the cornerstones of the recent civil justice reform intervention.
Relational dynamics continue to be at the center of the reasons for the conflict between savers and intermediaries. Critical turns out to be, before any other, the preliminary disclosure phase for the investment choice. What savers often complain about is the inadequacy of the information flow received to generate truly conscious investment choices. On this front, numerous decisions have now been taken by the ACF College, in which guidelines have been elaborated which, starting from the practical cases examined, have led to the elaboration of general principles which, correctly understood and applied, can prove particularly useful for removing ex ante most of the reasons for the dispute. These principles will also find special emphasis in the 2021 annual report, which will be published by 31 March next and in which a special summary section of the most important guidelines developed in the entire first five-year period will be included, not only in terms of information, but also for what it relates to the behavior of both professional operators and savers themselves.
It is also the intention of the Arbitrator, in 2022, to carry out dialogue initiatives with stakeholders and representative associations, in order to receive feedback on the activity carried out so far and on the perceived quality of the services provided, with the aim of constantly adjusting the level to the needs of users.
Finally, the collaboration relationship, now structured, with the Financial Banking Arbitrator (Abf) and, as soon as possible, also with the newly established Insurance Arbitrator (Aas) will continue and find further forms of consolidation.
Source: RSS DiariodelWeb.it Economia by www.diariodelweb.it.
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