The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is required by legislation to operate in a way that is accessible, independent, fair, accountable, efficient and effective.
Fairness requires complaints to be considered objectively and without bias, and by staff and decision makers with appropriate expertise.
Our Rules also explicitly require that we provide procedural fairness to the parties to a complaint. This means that before we decide a complaint, both the person making the complaint and the financial firm must be provided with relevant information upon which we intend to rely and have an opportunity to provide their views and response.
Our decisions must fairly reflect the information provided to us and apply the decision making criteria in the Rules. While we recognise that in each complaint we must take into account its particular facts, we are expected to achieve consistency in our decision making.
We do this in a number of ways, including:
- Providing written reasons for any decision we make about the merits of a complaint, including when we assess that a complaint as outside our jurisdiction
- Explaining how we handle confidentiality and privacy when sharing relevant information
- Publishing and following a clear decision making process
- Publishing and following our Operational Guidelines
- Having available a complaints and feedback process for users of our service who wish to complain about our standard of service. This includes an Independent Assessor who independently reviews complaints about our standard of service. This does not extend to reviewing the merits of a complaint.
In 2019, AFCA started the Fairness Jurisdiction Project to provide greater certainty about how AFCA assesses what is fair in a way that is clearly understood by AFCA staff, members and complainants.
In May 2022, AFCA published its Fairness Jurisdiction Project Outcomes report, which outlines the resources AFCA developed to ensure its Fairness jurisdiction is well understood by its stakeholders, that it is applied consistently and independently, and in a way that is fair for all parties.
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