Institutional mediation proceedings involve parties whose level of scientific know-how and experience varies greatly. The service is aimed at protecting non-institutional investors against the activities of financial intermediaries, independent consultants, the management bodies of the securities markets or issuers.
The Comissão do Mercado de Valores Mobiliários (CMVM) offers its services as a mere intermediary, nevertheless offering the relevant services and qualified mediators, with a view to satisfying the demands of the injured party through negotiation and thereby resolving the conflict.
By nature, institutional mediators are responsible for establishing dialogue with those who use public services, adding to the advantage of direct and prolonged contact by means of public relations activities and the good work of those providing the service, the fact of the service being solely dedicated to the resolution of problems - technical problems which call for technical know-how.
Assistance offered by the CMVM's Mediation Service is characterised by its swiftness and informality, which depends directly on requests for mediation being made by investors. Proceedings commence only when the target company agrees to participate in them.
The management of mediation proceedings is the responsibility of a qualified mediator appointed by the executive board of the CMVM, who, under the terms of the Portuguese Securities Code (Código dos Valores Mobiliários), is subject to legal duties of impartiality and confidentiality.
The swift and efficient resolution of conflicts relies on the work of the mediator not being regulated (i.e. the mediator must be able to intervene between parties in such a way as to guarantee the most adequate solution to the conflict in question). Without sacrificing the quality of the help it offers to the parties involved, the Service is therefore dedicated to providing the greatest possible level of freedom as regards the carrying out of its duties.
Foreseeing the possible occurrence of mass conflicts, mediators are permitted to deal with claims made which prove to be identical to interests of parties to pending investigations (without jeapordising the ability of investor protection associations to intervene either as a principal party or an accessory).
Conflicts which result in concensus of the parties involved should be resolved for once and for all by means of agreement or agreement to desist.
In view of the internal channels already established by the CMVM with regard to investor assistance, and given that in many cases conflicts are related to complaints made by investors, the CMVM has decided to make the management of conflict resolution incumbent upon the same services that provide services of intermediation.
Not disregarding the pedagogical and preventative nature of the CMVM's intervention in such cases (e.g. recognition of the high level of quality of the service offered with regard to the resolution of complaints made by potential targets), it is believed that the type of mediation which is being offered will contribute to the substitution of a confrontational culture with a more communicative culture.