- About this Annual Review
- Year at a glance
- Acknowledgement of country
- Board Chair message
- Chief Executive Officer and Chief Ombudsman message
- Organisational overview
- AFCA Independent Review
- Who complained to AFCA?
- Overview of complaints
- Open cases
- Closed cases
- Banking and finance complaints
- Buy now pay later
- Scam complaints
- Financial difficulty complaints
- Small business complaints
- General insurance complaints
- Significant events
- Life insurance complaints
- Superannuation complaints
- Investments and advice complaints
- Complaints lodged by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- Complaints lodged by consumer advocates and financial counsellors
- Complaints lodged by paid representatives
- Complaints outside AFCA’s Rules
- AFCA’s Systemic Issues function
- AFCA’s Code compliance and monitoring functiong
- Engagement, awareness and accessibility
- Corporate information
- AFCA General Purpose Financial Report
Progress in 2022–23
We are in the second year of our three-year plan and have achieved key outcomes against our strategic themes. Our dedication to fair, unbiased and efficient financial dispute resolutions, coupled with our customer-focused approach, ensures our ongoing success.
Our simple, tailored and accessible services offer great member, consumer and small business experiences.
We want to set the benchmark for external dispute resolution (EDR) service in Australia. We’re focused on being helpful with prompt, fair resolutions. Our streamlined model is customised and simple, easy to access alongside a robust complaint management process aimed at reducing conflict.
AFCA’s achievements against our strategy this year included:
- handling 138,333 phone calls to our dedicated consumer line, 17,192 membership line calls, and 14,069 significant event hotline calls, with an average wait time of 4.3 minutes. A total of 53,904 calls, or 35%, were answered within two minutes
- 29,381+ live chats on our website
- a 69% customer satisfaction rate
- an 82% member satisfaction rate, up by 5% from last year
- multiple initiatives to improve the customer/member experience, including updating AFCA's survey platform for real-time feedback and enabling instant customer engagement to address complaint concerns
- helping with 1,376 interpreter service requests, covering 72 languages
- successfully launching AFCA's inaugural Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan. This vital roadmap will forge authentic and significant connections with First Nations peoples, communities and businesses via culturally sensitive and easily accessible services.
We will design our services for efficiency through the proactive, streamlined and timely resolution of complaints.
We’re always striving to be more efficient and improve our core services, to create more satisfied complainants, members and a happier AFCA team.
In 2022–23 we:
- closed 86,185 complaints, 21% more than in the previous year
- reduced the average time to resolve a complaint from 72 days (2021–22) to 69 days
- reduced overall complaints sitting with AFCA for more than 365 days from 2.4% in the previous year to 0.9% ¹
- implemented new initiatives and methods to manage a significant increase in complaints and complaint queues, ensuring continued delivery of excellent services to our customers and members. This included actively recruiting and reassigning staff to high-impact product areas, introducing a pilot program for a temporary workforce, batching complaints that lend themselves to being resolved by one defined approach, and investing in technology solutions to improve timeliness and communication
- saw positive results from the first year of AFCA’s ‘user-pays’ funding model, which achieved its aims for a fit-for-purpose, simplified model that is fairer, more sustainable and efficient, and that supports early resolution of complaints. More information on the funding model outcomes can be found here.
We will be targeted and purposeful in our engagement and use our insights to build trust in, and contribute to, a better financial sector.
AFCA contributes to and benefits the broader community in two ways:
- We provide independent, fair and effective dispute resolution.
- We improve practices and minimise financial services sector disputes.
But we can’t do it alone. We are continuing to develop strong, meaningful relationships with consumer and industry bodies, regulators, government and other key external stakeholders to inform, change and improve practices.
In 2022–23, we:
- significantly increased engagement with consumers, members and industry bodies through conferences, forums and community engagement activities across Australia (see more about Stakeholder Engagement on the Engagement page)
- engaged with several international ombudsman schemes in relation to risks and opportunities in the regulatory environment (including about scams)
- completed one of the largest external consultations related to AFCA’s Rules and Operational Guidelines in response to the 2021 Independent Review. This consultation included over 30 individual external meetings, webinars (over 1,100 attendees) and a new webpage (over 2,200 hits during the consultation period)
- held two online Member Forums for financial firm members to hear from our Lead Ombudsmen and decision makers about complaint trends and issues. These each were attended by approximately 4,000 members.
- commenced publication of a bi-annual Systemic Issues Insights Report, sharing data and findings about industry-wide systemic issues cases, which help financial firms improve industry practice
- increased consumer awareness about AFCA from 25% to 34%
- received 859,303 unique visitors and 3,710,853 hits on AFCA’s website.
Data and technology
We will deliver effective technology and sophisticated use of data to provide an enriched digital experience for our customers and our people.
We aim to be an EDR industry leader in the use of data and technology. To achieve this requires effective technology and sophisticated use of data to enable decision making, drive efficiency and influence dispute resolution.
Data and technology are key enablers of our organisation’s agility and innovation. In the past year, we have focused on providing an enriched digital experience and helpful insights for our customers and our people. We have done this through data and integrated enterprise systems that are streamlined and supported by flexible and secure infrastructure.
In 2022–23, we:
- successfully completed the design and build of AFCA’s new case management system and customer portals. These will provide a better experience for all users and more transparency and dependability about the timing of case management
- applied modern data and reporting efficiencies as part of AFCA’s initiative to improve the identification and investigation of systemic issues (find out more about our systemic issues work here)
- implemented improvements and upgrades to our internal systems, including knowledge management and supporting finance systems, as part of our IT transformation to enhance the user experience for staff and customers
- significantly enhanced AFCA’s IT security capability to ensure continued protection of our data, systems, networks and digital assets from cyber threats and risks.
Our people experience
We will actively strive to make AFCA a truly great place to work.
Our people are at the heart of everything we do. We have a clear strategic goal to have highly skilled and engaged staff equipped with the tools they need to deliver high-quality outcomes for the diverse community we serve.
In 2022–23, we:
- developed and launched AFCA’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Strategy, which emphasises AFCA’s commitment to inclusion and accessibility for employees, customers and members
- were certified as a Family Friendly Workplace through our partnership with Parents at Work, which benchmarks AFCA and certifies us according to ‘National Work + Family Standards’
- achieved the highest overall employee engagement score of 85% in our April Employee Pulse survey, up from 80% in the previous survey in October 2022
- continued a strong focus on wellbeing, with 88% of our people agreeing AFCA is a great place to work. This is up from 80% in the previous year’s survey, demonstrating AFCA’s commitment to our employees and their wellbeing
- matured and elevated AFCA’s approach to the development of our people and leadership capability, by developing new fit-for-purpose learning, capability and leadership development programs across all levels of our organisation
- focused on enterprise recognition of our people, designing and launching our new program Above and Beyond, a recognition program for staff aligning to the four cultural qualities.
AFCA and our people received a number of prestigious industry awards throughout the year:
- AFCA was named in the top five best workplaces in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry category in the Financial Review’s BOSS Best Places to Work list. AFCA placed at number five, and was credited for its culture, engagement and flexible working arrangements.
- John Price, former Lead Ombudsman, received a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the 32nd Annual Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP) Australia International Symposium.
- Justin Untersteiner, AFCA’s Chief Operating Officer, was runner-up for Not-For-Profit Executive of the Year at CEO Magazine’s 2022 Executive of the Year awards.
- At the 2022 PRIA Golden Target Awards, AFCA’s Communications, Engagement and Brand team won the Silver award for Consumer Campaign – Services, and a Bronze award for Integrated Marketing Communication Campaign for the awareness-raising campaign, ‘That’s what AFCA does.’
- Saziah Bashir, Strategy Manager, was nominated for the Rising Star Award at the 2022 Industry Excellence Awards, at SOCAP Australia International Symposium.
¹ Aged cases exclude paused complaints, complaints relating to test cases, batched complaints and cases subject to external litigation.