Australian Financial Complaints Authority: Paving the way for complaints in the financial system

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a new external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme that has been formed to deal with complaints from consumers against an AFCA member. AFCA replaces the existing EDR schemes, being the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT). Access to AFCA will be free to consumers and it has the following characteristics:

  • it is a single forum for EDR services;
  • it allows higher monetary limits on the amounts that may be awarded by AFCA for complaints other than superannuation complaints;
  • it provides greater accountability to users, including the appointment by the AFCA Board of an independent assessor whose purpose will be to consider whether AFCA provides an appropriate standard of service; and
  • it is governed by the AFCA Complaint Resolution Scheme Rules (Rules) which are the terms of reference outlining the rules and processes applicable to all complaints submitted to AFCA, to support its dispute resolution functions and legislation relating to superannuation disputes.

Florian Ammer, Partner, Elaine Cheung, Senior Associate and James Poulos, Law Clerk, provide an overview of the new Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

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