Australian Financial Complaints Authority membership applications open

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services has announced the authorisation of Australian Financial Complaints Limited to operate the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). Background.

AFCA will replace the two existing ASIC approved EDR schemes – the Financial Ombudsman Scheme (FOS) and the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) – and the statutory Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT).

AFCA membership

All Australian Financial Services Licensees, Australian Credit Licensees, superannuation trustees and other financial firms will be required to become members of AFCA by 21 September 2018. You can download application forms and fee details here.

Existing members of FOS and CIO must also retain their existing membership of the FOS or CIO scheme until further notice and keep paying fees to the FOS and CIO schemes as and when they fall due.

Complaints

AFCA will commence accepting complaints from 1 November 2018. Consumers will be able to lodge complaints with the existing industry ombudsman schemes (the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal) until AFCA commences.

The SCT will continue to operate beyond 1 November 2018 to resolve the complaints it has received at that date. Superannuation trustees will need to continue to deal with any existing complaints they have with the SCT.

Superannuation trustees will deal with the AFCA scheme in relation to complaints lodged with it on or after 1 November 2018.

Complaints that have been lodged with the SCT before 1 November 2018 will not be able to be transferred to AFCA.

Other issues

The Minister also announced the appointment of the first 4 members to the AFCA board, effective 4 May 2018, further to the March 2018 appointment of Helen Coonan as the inaugural chair.

AFCA will shortly consult publicly on new AFCA Rules and its interim funding model. The AFCA Rules will be subject to ASIC approval.

Information about the AFCA dispute resolution process will be published between August and October.

Regulations

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Consumers First—Establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) Regulations 2018 makes consequential amendments to seven regulations as a result of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Consumers First—Establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) Act 2018.

AFCA Scheme Authorisation 2018 authorises Australian Financial Complaints Limited (ACN 620 494 340) to operate the Australian Financial Complaints Authority under subsection 1050(1) of the Corporations Act.

Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Consumers First—Establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) Commencement Instrument (No. 1 of 2018) fixes 21 September 2018 as the day on which the amendments made by Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Consumers First—Establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) Act 2018 apply.

Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Consumers First—Establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) Commencement Instrument (No. 2 of 2018) fixes 1 November 2018 as the day on which the amendments made by Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Consumers First—Establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) Act 2018 apply.

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