The Parliament of Australia has passed a bill to establish the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), a new dispute resolution service for the country’s financial services sector.
AFCA, which will replace the existing multi-body complaints system, will be overseen by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and start accepting complaints on Nov. 1.
The new service will feature higher monetary limits and compensation caps, and will broaden access to a free, independent dispute resolution forum for consumers and small businesses, ASIC says in a news release.
“Fair, timely and effective dispute resolution is a cornerstone of the financial services consumer protection framework. The combination of firms’ internal dispute resolution procedures and access to a free independent external scheme currently provides redress for many tens of thousands of Australians each year. Strengthening these dispute resolution requirements will help deliver higher standards and better outcomes in the financial services market,” says Peter KEll, ASIC deputy chairman, in a statement.
“The establishment of a single scheme for all financial services and superannuation complaints is a very positive development, building on the outcomes achieved over many years by the existing three schemes: the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal,” adds Kell.