The Australian Financial Complaints Authority or ‘AFCA’ is the new external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme to deal with complaints from consumers and small businesses about financial services and products. It is operated by a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee that has been authorised by the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services (Minister).
AFCA replaces the three existing EDR schemes of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) so that consumers have access to a single EDR framework.
Membership of AFCA is required under law or a licence condition. AFCA operations will be financed by contributions made by its members. The scheme will be free to consumers.
· be the single point of contact for complainants for EDR services;
· have higher monetary limits;
· be more accountable to users, including by having an independent assessor to deal with complaints about its handling of disputes; and
· have rules ( terms of reference) to support its dispute resolution functions and legislation, in the case of superannuation disputes.
AFCA will start receiving complaints from 1 November 2018.
On 1 September 2018 the CIO Scheme was transferred to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) as part of transition arrangements for AFCA commencing on 1 November 2018. From 1 September 2018 AFCA has been managing the CIO scheme.
As part of transition arrangements, any CIO complaint that is received prior to 1 November 2018 will be dealt with under the CIO Rules. From 1 November the AFCA scheme will commence and any disputes received by AFCA will be dealt with under the AFCA Rules.
Existing CIO Members were required to transition their CIO membership to AFCA by 31 August 2018.
Information is available on
AFCA’s website about requirements for financial firms to update documentation with AFCA’s details.