The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, announced the authorisation of Australian Financial Complaints Limited to operate the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
AFCA is the new one-stop shop dispute resolution body for the financial system, governed by a board of 11 directors, consisting of an Independent Chair (The Hon Helen Coonan) and an equal number of industry and consumer directors. The four board members appointed to date are:
- industry director – Ms Claire Mackay – a highly regarded financial planner;
- industry director – Mr Andrew Fairley – an equity lawyer with over 35 years’ specialist experience in superannuation;
- consumer director – Ms Erin Turner – an experienced consumer advocate; and
- consumer director – Mr Alan Wein – a lawyer, mediator and experienced advocate for small and medium sized businesses.
It is currently proposed that:
- AFCA will commence accepting complaints from 1 November 2018.
- AFCA will replace the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT).
- All Australian Financial Services Licensees, Australian Credit Licensees, superannuation trustees and other financial firms required to become members of AFCA by law will need to do so by no later than 21 September 2018. AFCA will, in the coming months, outline the process for applying for membership.
- Consumers will be able to lodge complaints with the existing industry ombudsman schemes – FOS and CIO – and the SCT until AFCA commences.
- Complaints made to FOS and CIO schemes before 1 November 2018 and which remain unresolved at that date will be dealt with by AFCA under the Rules/Terms of Reference that applied when the complaint was originally made.
- The SCT will continue to operate beyond AFCA’s commencement to resolve the existing complaints it has on hand. Complaints lodged with the SCT will not be transferred to AFCA.
- One of the first priorities of the AFCA Board will be to commence public consultation on the AFCA terms of reference (known as the AFCA Rules) (which will increase limits) and the scheme’s interim funding model.
- The AFCA Board will continue to engage with the existing dispute resolution bodies to bring about a smooth transition to AFCA for consumers and financial firms. Further information on the transition will released by AFCA on its website.
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