AFCA consults on proposed rules changes

Feedback is welcome until May 22

AFCA consults on proposed rules changes


By Mina Martin

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), a single dispute resolution scheme for financial services, is seeking feedback on the proposed changes to its official rules and operational guidelines.

AFCA has launched the consultation, which is open until May 22, to address the 14 recommendations set out by the Treasury-led independent review, which found that although the EDR body was performing well, it should continue to develop and improve its procedures as it consolidates its place in the financial system.

“AFCA has a significant three-year program of work underway to implement the independent review recommendations,” said June Smith (pictured above), deputy chief ombudsman. “Our proposed rules and operational guidelines changes are an important component of that program. The aim is to ensure AFCA continues to deliver fair, independent, efficient, and effective solutions for financial disputes.”

The proposed changes to AFCA's rules and operational guidelines did not include any increase in the jurisdiction, or the monetary limits, of the AFCA scheme. Instead, the changes focused on the following areas:

  • the management of unreasonable and inappropriate conduct within the scheme
  • dealing with complaints where an appropriate offer of settlement has been made or where issues in dispute have been previously settled
  • excluding complaints lodged by professional or sophisticated investors unless exceptions apply
  • enhancing the visibility, accessibility, and performance of the Forward Looking Review mechanism
  • clarity about the effect of AFCA determinations and how the slip rule works
  • definitions and language to update certain areas of the rules arising from legislative change,

“These proposals are an indication of the approach we may take but we are keen to hear from firms and consumers, whose feedback will help us as we seek to enhance the AFCA scheme,” Smith said.

The consultation page on the AFCA website provides information on the many ways stakeholders can provide comment, including through webinars, meetings, an online submission form, or written submissions.

In the 2021-22 calendar year, AFCA closed 71,152 complaints. By the end of that period, the authority had 42,488 financial firm members.

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