Australian Financial Complaints Authority to deal with legacy complaints from July 2019

Maria Nikolova

AFCA’s remit will be expanded to accept eligible complaints regarding conduct dating back to January 1, 2008.

The recently launched Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has earlier today provided an update on its powers to deal with legacy complaints. The external dispute resolution scheme welcomed the Government’s announcement to extend AFCA’s remit to review eligible financial complaints dating back to January 1, 2008.

Chief Ombudsman and Chief Executive Officer, David Locke explains that AFCA’s remit will be expanded for a period of 12 months to accept eligible complaints regarding conduct dating back to January 1, 2008.

“In most cases, we are currently only able to consider matters that have occurred within the last six years. When a complaint has been through a financial firms’ internal dispute resolution process, this timeframe is reduced to two years. This change means that many more people will be able to get access to justice and have their matters properly considered,” Mr Locke said.

AFCA will consider eligible complaints between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, following the AFCA Rules being updated. AFCA will run a limited consultation regarding required changes to its Rules, which will need to be approved by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

AFCA started operating on November 1, 2018. The new body has taken over from the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal. AFCA operates with higher compensation limits than its predecessors — for consumers ($500,000), for small businesses ($1 million) and primary producers ($2 million).

Financial firms including AFS licensees that provide financial services to retail clients, credit licensees, most credit representatives, superannuation trustees and unlicensed product issuers are required by law to join AFCA.

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