Students from the National University of Singapore Pro Bono Group prepared this guide. The guide is for public education and is not legal advice.

General Process
FIDReC follows a 2-step process for financial disputes. First, you must submit a complaint against financial institutions that are under FIDReC’s jurisdiction. Only then can the claim proceed to mediation. If a consensual resolution cannot be reached at mediation, you can then choose to adjudicate your claim.

FIDReC’s mediation process includes a component called the “mediator’s indication”. This is compulsory under the FIDReC Non-Injury Motor Accident Scheme and optional otherwise.

What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process where an impartial and neutral person helps disputing parties to reach an outcome that they can accept. The discussions may be conducted through telephone, email, videoconference, or face-to-face meeting. They may take place separately between the mediator and one party, or jointly between all the parties.

Process for Mediation

  1. After your dispute is accepted for handling by FIDReC, a Case Manager will verify if your claim falls within FIDReC’s jurisdiction. For example, if your claim is filed more than 6 months after the financial institution’s final reply, FIDReC cannot handle it. If the claim falls within FIDReC’s jurisdiction, the Case Manager will start the mediation process.
  1. The Case Manager will review the information and documents submitted. The Case Manager may contact you for more information to fully understand your case.
  1. The Case Manager will also contact the financial institution and ask for an investigation report.
  1. After gathering the information from both parties, the Case Manager will communicate further with them. These communications may be separate or joint. The purpose is to uncover the interests of the parties, to help them understand their situation, and explore options. The communications can be by telephone, email or at a meeting (whether virtual or physical).
  1. If there is no outcome, the Case Manager may offer you the option of a “mediator’s indication”. The mediator’s indication is free. It is a preliminary assessment or opinion by a senior Case Manager or lawyer on whether your claim will likely succeed at adjudication.
  1. The mediator’s indication is not binding on the parties. If the parties agree with the mediator’s indication, they will sign a settlement agreement. If they do not, the consumer can choose to continue with adjudication.

How Should I Prepare for Mediation?
  1. Keep an open mind. The purpose of mediation is for you to communicate with the other party and to negotiate with them. You must be prepared to listen. Please work together with the mediator and the other party to arrive at an agreement that works for all parties. Do not limit yourself to a fixed "bottom line". Having absolute boundaries may limit your ability to gain from the mediation
  1. Be frank with your mediator. You may have private discussions with the Mediator. These private sessions will be completely confidential. They cannot be revealed to the financial institution you are complaining against. Be prepared to confide in your Mediator and use him/her as a sounding board for your ideas about how to find a settlement.
  1. Think about how you will present what you want. It is usually not productive to make bare demands, with no explanation. Do explain your situation so that the financial institution can understand where you are coming from. They can then assess whether they can accede to your requests.
  1. Share in advance and bring along all relevant documents relating to the dispute. These may include letters, e-mail exchanges, invoices, contractual agreements, expert reports, photographs, and videos.
  1. During the mediation, participate honestly and courteously. State your concerns and wishes clearly and remain polite. This will help everyone communicate and focus on solutions.

What Can I Expect During a Mediation Meeting?
The Case Manager or Mediator will begin with introductions and outline the purpose and ground rules for the meeting.

The Mediator will then invite the Complainant to share their side of the story, including their concerns and what they want to achieve. The Mediator will summarise the key points.

The financial institution representative will then share their views. The Mediator will summarise again to ensure that all the important points are understood.

Based on what was shared, the Mediator will set the agenda or issues for discussion. The Mediator will then guide the conversation to explore each of the issues.

Where appropriate, the Mediator will call for a private caucus. This is a private session between one party and the mediator. The Mediator will not share information you reveal at a private session without your permission.

Throughout the mediation meeting, the Mediator may ask questions, check their understanding, and note any consensus reached. Based on the progress of the meeting, the mediator may arrange for further mediation meetings. The mediator could also request parties to submit further documents or information.

What If I am Not Satisfied with the Proposals Discussed at Mediation?
You are free to choose whether to accept or reject any proposals made during the mediation. If both parties come to an agreement, you will have to sign a Settlement Agreement with the financial institution. This Settlement Agreement binds both parties and brings an end to the dispute.

If you are not satisfied with any proposals made during the mediation, you may choose to proceed to adjudication. There, the parties present their case to an impartial Adjudicator who will make a decision on the case.