- 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
About the AFCA Independent Review
AFCA is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in accordance with ASIC Regulatory Guide 267 ‘Oversight of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority,’ which requires AFCA to be periodically and independently reviewed.
Since the inaugural AFCA Independent Review report was released in November 2021, with 14 recommendations, AFCA has continued to further enhance its service to consumers, small businesses and members. The findings of the report provided insights that support our commitment to continuously improve the way we work and our dispute resolution scheme, for all who access our services.
Since the program of work responding to the recommendations commenced in December 2021, AFCA has completed four and made significant progress across another eight of the 14 recommendations, all of which remain on track for completion by December 2024.
Key highlights include the following:
- Delivering AFCA’s new funding model and improving transparency of AFCA’s fees and related services in 2022 (completing recommendations 7 and 8).
- Improving the visibility of the Independent Assessor to all parties to a complaint (completing recommendation 10).
- Improving the transparency of systemic issues in public reporting in 2022 (completing recommendation 13).
- Undertaking a transformation of the systemic issues function.
- Consulting with all stakeholders on proposed changes to AFCA’s Rules and Operational Guidelines in March 2023. The proposed changes support several Independent Review recommendations and ensure our Rules and Operational Guidelines remain accurate, up to date and provide clearer guidance about AFCA’s jurisdiction and processes.
- Building governance and consultation models for the development of AFCA Approach documents and a Forward Looking Review mechanism (recommendations 9 and 11).
- Settling our approach to professional and sophisticated investors (recommendation 6).
- Developing guidance for fee paid representatives about our service (recommendation 4).
- Conducting a post-implementation review of our Fairness Jurisdiction project (recommendation 2).
- Undertaking many initiatives to ensure the timeliness and efficiency of our service, including reducing the number of open AFCA complaints over 365 days to 0.9% of all complaints held.
AFCA will progress the remaining recommendations towards completion and continue to transparently share our program of work through consultations, engagement and the publication of quarterly updates.
For more information, visit AFCA’s Independent Review page.
Independent Review highlights
Delivering AFCA’s new funding model and improving transparency of AFCA’s fees and related services (recommendations 7 and 8)
On 1 July 2022, AFCA implemented its new ‘user-pays’ funding model, which reduces the burden on smaller members and those industries that are not heavy users of AFCA. It also minimises cross-subsidisation across sectors and supports firms to better forecast and budget for complaints.
Members began receiving invoices under the new fee structure from 1 July 2022. The delivery of the new funding model and improved fee transparency saw AFCA complete recommendations 7 and 8 of the Independent Review.
During the first year of the model, AFCA has been monitoring its performance to ensure it is operating as intended. For key findings of this review, visit Our members and for more information on the funding model, visit AFCA’s funding model page.
Improving visibility of the Independent Assessor to all parties to a complaint (recommendation 10)
In December 2022, AFCA completed recommendation 10, improving the visibility of the Independent Assessor, with the delivery of enhanced consumer and member resources on the Independent Assessor. Key deliverables included:
- Publishing new information on AFCA’s service complaints process and the Independent Assessor on the AFCA website, including a fact sheet and new videos for members, consumers and stakeholders.
- Providing information about AFCA’s service complaints process and the Independent Assessor in 19 languages to improve accessibility.
- Making it easier to find information about the Independent Assessor through improved website navigation and search engine optimisation (SEO).
- Communicating about AFCA’s service complaints process and the Independent Assessor in messages to consumers and members during AFCA’s dispute resolution process.
AFCA maintains an ongoing focus on raising the visibility of its service and feedback measures, including the Independent Assessor, to ensure we continue to provide an accountable service. For more information visit AFCA’s Independent Assessor page.
Improving transparency of systemic issues in public reporting (recommendation 13)
As part of its commitment to transparency and sharing key systemic issues insights with consumers, members and stakeholders, AFCA launched its inaugural Systemic Issues Insights Report in December 2022. The report shares recent data and findings from a range of systemic issue cases across the industry, helping financial firms to improve industry practice. The delivery of the report also saw AFCA implement Recommendation 13. The report is published bi-annually. For more information and to read the reports, visit the Systemic Issues Insights Report page.
AFCA’s consultation on Rules and Operational Guidelines changes
In May 2023, AFCA concluded its consultation on proposed changes to its Rules and Operational Guidelines. The proposed changes were developed to address recommendations made in the Independent Review, with some additional changes to help ensure AFCA’s Rules and Operational Guidelines remain accurate, up to date and provide clearer guidance around AFCA’s jurisdiction and processes.
The consultation was designed with the needs of diverse stakeholders in mind, so there were many ways to provide comment, including through webinars, meetings, an online submission form and written submissions. AFCA engaged with a range of stakeholders during the consultation and received a total of 37 formal written submissions, including 33 non-confidential submissions. AFCA would like to thank all stakeholders for a constructive and cooperative consultation process.
Following approvals, the new Rules and Operational Guidelines will take effect on 1 July 2024. For more information, visit AFCA’s Rules and Operational Guidelines Consultation page.