ASIC’s surveillance of internal dispute resolution in superannuation

ASIC has announced that the first stage of its surveillance of superannuation trustees’ compliance with the new enforceable requirements in Regulatory Guide 271 Internal dispute resolution (RG 271) found indicators of significant compliance issues.

For the first stage of the surveillance, ASIC gathered and analysed data on the status and timeliness of complaints handling (excluding objections to death benefit distributions) from a selection of 35 trustees of 38 funds covering 49,029 complaints received between 5 October 2021 and 28 February 2022.

ASIC says that its review observed that:

  • ASIC is concerned that some trustees may be failing to record all member complaints or adopting an inappropriately narrow definition of ‘complaint’.
  • Across the 38 funds reviewed, while 92% of complaints were resolved within 45 days, 2.7% of the total IDR responses were sent after the 45-day maximum timeframe generally required under RG 271. ASIC is concerned that trustees may be over-applying the limited exceptions to the maximum timeframe or not sufficiently monitoring how long complaints take to resolve.
  • RG 271 requires trustees to notify complainants of delays and their right to go to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority when a written response to a complaint is not sent within 45 days. However, ASIC’s review found that in such circumstances, complainants were not notified nearly 50% of the time.
  • One in three trustees advised ASIC that there were varying degrees of process failures or errors in their IDR systems. These included identifying or capturing complaints correctly, omitting mandatory content from IDR response letters or failing to send out IDR responses for some complaints.

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David Jacobson

Author: David Jacobson
Principal, Bright Corporate Law
About David Jacobson
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. It is not to be relied upon as a full statement of the law. You should seek professional advice for your specific needs and circumstances before acting or relying on any of the content.

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