Membership of CIO

The Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) is an external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme approved by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). We can therefore accept Australian Credit Licence (ACL) holders, Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) holders or Authorised Credit Representatives (ACR) of a credit licensee, as well as a wide range of other types of financial services providers as participants of the scheme.  

From 1 July 2016, accountants will need to hold a “limited” Australian Financial Services licence, and join an external dispute resolution scheme such as CIO, in order to provide certain types of financial services such as advice on self managed superannuation funds. CIO accepts limited AFSL holders as participants of the scheme.

Participants of our scheme are provided with an alternative to costly legal proceedings involved with resolving complaints with their clients. CIO is required to be impartial, and we therefore do not advocate for consumers; nor do we represent financial services providers in their disputes with their clients.

Participants of our scheme can ensure financial licensee obligations are maintained and industry and commercial accreditations are upheld. A membership with CIO promotes a reputable, responsible and professional service for dealing with consumer complaints.

Having an effective complaint management procedure and being a member of an ASIC-approved EDR scheme such as CIO demonstrates to clients and peers that financial services providers are committed to providing quality client services.

The CIO process involves impartially assessing information received from both members and their clients, and giving each party an opportunity to respond to the other's assertions. CIO takes into account the law, relevant codes of practice, good industry practice and fairness when considering a complaint against a member. If there is merit to the complaint, CIO facilitates and encourages the parties to reach a mutually acceptable settlement to the complaint. We have the power to make a final binding decision if the parties cannot reach a fair and reasonable outcome between themselves.

Why CIO?

CIO's exposure to the non-bank sector means that we understand the business of participants of our scheme, which include:

  • brokers
  • lenders
  • mortgage managers
  • securitisers
  • trustees
  • credit unions
  • building societies
  • financial planners and advisers
  • micro lenders
  • debt collection services
  • and many more

Participants of our scheme benefit from

  • a hands-on and active approach to complaint handling
  • faster, simpler and informal complaints resolution
  • an inexpensive and effective complaint resolution mechanism
  • assistance in maintaining and managing client relationships

Complaint Fee Rebate

Licensee participants of the CIO scheme receive one free complaint each year, which entitles a refund of any complaint fee paid to us for a complaint made about the financial services provider or associated representatives in that year.