In just a few weeks, the three pillars of Australia’s financial dispute resolution architecture will be rolled into a single new body – the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
From 1 November 2019, AFCA will replace the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT).
As the AFCA website explains, the body will be funded by its members – i.e. Australian financial providers – with the amount payable by a particular provider being a combination of a base subscription and usage based charges. This is a mechanism common to industry-funded schemes, and is designed to promote effective internal dispute resolution by providers, and ensures that complainants (consumers and small businesses) can access the scheme free of charge.
The jurisdiction and powers of AFCA are set out in its Scheme Rules. One notable, and beneficial, feature of AFCA is its power to deal with systemic complaints alongside individual disputes, to order that changes be made, and to report AFCA’s findings to government bodies such as ASIC, the ATO and APRA (the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority).
Dispute resolution practitioners may also be interested to know that AFCA has advertised a number of positions at various levels in both Sydney and Melbourne. Details here.
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