The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (Financial Markets Authority), France's independent regulatory authority, appointed Marielle Cohen-Branche as its Ombudsman in November 2011. Since then, she has reoriented the office of the AMF Ombudsman as an important ADR resource for investors in line with the revised AMF Strategic Plan.
The AMF Ombudsman's primary role is to facilitate out-of-court settlements. According to its website:
In the event of a dispute, the Ombudsman's Office can help the parties to reach an out-of-court settlement and avoid legal action. It does not act as lawyer for either party or as judge. A charter governs this procedure, which is free of charge, confidential and elective (requiring the consent of both parties).
The office received 518 mediation requests in 2011 and processed 578 matters (thus reducing an backlog of cases). Last year 46% of cases were resolved with an agreement.
Cohen-Branche has 25 years of experience as a legal expert in banking, notably as Legal Affairs and Litigation Director for the Crédit Agricole Bank in Ile de France. Most recently, she served as Extraordinary Judge at the Court of Cassation in charge of banking and financial law. As the Ombudsman, Cohen-Branche reports directly to the AMF Chair for a three-year term. (AMF Ombudsman; Press Release; 2011 Annual Report.)