The Independent Assessor independently reviews and assesses, on a case by case basis, complaints regarding the standard of service provided by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) in resolving complaints.

The Independent Assessor does not have the power to review the merits or substance of an AFCA decision.

Appointed by the AFCA Board, and operating in accordance with the Independent Assessor’s Terms of Reference, the Independent Assessor of AFCA is Melissa Dwyer.

Who can complain to the Independent Assessor?

Any user of our service, including a complainant, financial firm, joined party, or a representative of a party may lodge a complaint about our standard of service.

If that person remains dissatisfied after receiving AFCA’s response to their complaint about our standard of service, they may refer their concerns to the Independent Assessor within the timeframe specified in the Independent Assessor’s Terms of Reference. The Independent Assessor will then independently review and assess the complaint about AFCA’s service.

When can a complaint be made to the Independent Assessor?

Once a person has given us an opportunity to respond to a complaint about the level of service we have provided, if they are dissatisfied with our final response, they can contact the office of the Independent Assessor for a further review of the matter.

Complaints must be made within 3 months of AFCA’s response to the complaint through our internal feedback process.

Make a complaint to AFCA about the level of service provided.

How will the Independent Assessor decide whether I have a valid complaint?

If your complaint about our service falls within the Independent Assessor’s Terms of Reference, the Independent Assessor considers the information you provide and reviews the relevant information on our complaint file.

The Independent Assessor may ask for more information from you and/or AFCA if considered necessary. After considering the information and submissions provided by you and AFCA about the service complaint, the Independent Assessor will then decide in writing whether your complaint about the standard of service provided by us is justified and will provide that written decision to you and to AFCA.

If the Independent Assessor considers the service we provided was satisfactory, the decision will explain why. If, on the other hand, the Independent Assessor agrees with you that our service was unsatisfactory, the Independent Assessor’s written decision will explain why and will recommend what AFCA should do to resolve the issue.

What are the Independent Assessor’s Terms of Reference?

The scope of the Independent Assessor’s function is described in their Terms of Reference (ToR). This is separate from AFCA’s Rules. The Independent Assessor’s ToR sets out the role of the Independent Assessor and the process to be followed when a complaint is made, including:

  • the types of complaints that can be considered;
  • the complaint process;
  • the remedies that the Independent Assessor may recommend; and
  • the process to be followed in any case where the Chief Ombudsman of AFCA disagrees with the Independent Assessor’s recommendations.

How do I contact the Independent Assessor?

The Independent Assessor’s office only deals with complaints in writing.

The Independent Assessor only assesses complaints against AFCA about our standard of service in handling a financial complaint, after the completion of our own internal feedback process.

The Independent Assessor does not deal with complaints against financial firms.

Complaints to the Independent Assessor can be submitted by using the form . It will assist the Independent Assessor’s office in processing your complaint if you can complete the information set out on the online form (including your AFCA complaint reference number), which can then be sent by email (see the online form for details) or by post.

The postal address is:

Independent Assessor
Australian Financial Complaints Authority
GPO Box 3
MELBOURNE VIC 3001

A copy of your complaint/feedback form will also be provided to the AFCA Service Manager and the Quality, Knowledge & Improvement Senior Manager.

Independent Assessor form