Current Matter CSLR Legislation
On 22 June the Australian Parliament passed legislation establishing a Compensation Scheme of Last Resort (CSLR).
The CSLR will facilitate the payment of up to $150,000 in compensation to eligible consumers who have received an AFCA determination awarding compensation in relation to complaints in one of four areas: personal financial advice, credit intermediation, securities dealing or credit provision.
We are pleased for those people who will be eligible to lodge a claim with the CSLR, as set out by the legislation. We also acknowledge that others will be very disappointed if they do not qualify.
The scope of the CSLR is a matter of government policy, and a separate and independent company will manage the compensation scheme.
As an independent and impartial ombudsmen service, AFCA will now review the status of complaints it has had on pause because of firm insolvency (see more information below).
There are nearly 5,000 complaints currently on pause at AFCA, so this review will take some time to complete.
We will contact complainants as this work progresses. Complainants do not need to do anything in the meantime.
Since April 2020 AFCA has paused complaints against insolvent financial firms while awaiting detail of the scope and timing of a CSLR.
With the passing of the CSLR legislation, AFCA is now able to review the status of those paused complaints – which totalled 4,875 as at 1 June 2023.
These complaints include "closed” matters where there has already been an AFCA determination but no payment by the firm, as well as “open” complaints that AFCA has not yet considered because they were placed on pause.
AFCA will need to consider a range of questions for each open or closed complaint, in particular whether a complaint broadly falls within the scope of the CSLR, as laid out in the legislation.
With regard to an “open” complaint, AFCA will also need to consider whether the complaint is within AFCA’s jurisdiction, if this hasn’t already been determined – that is, whether it is the type of complaint AFCA is permitted to consider.
The high number of “open” complaints on pause means this work – the initial review and then consideration of the merits of individual complaints – will take some time.
What should complainants do now?
We acknowledge that many people have suffered significant losses and have been waiting patiently for this important reform to be finalised.
AFCA thanks complainants for their patience as we work through paused complaints with the care and rigour that’s required.
We will contact complainants as we progress this work – there is no need to do anything in the meantime.
Scope of the CSLR
The CSLR will provide compensation of up to $150,000 to eligible consumers who have an unpaid determination from AFCA relating to:
- Personal financial advice provided to retail clients on relevant financial products
- Dealing in securities for retail clients (but not issuing securities)
- Providing credit (where a financial firm provides funds)
- Arranging credit (where someone like a mortgage or finance broker arranges funds).
Other financial services will be outside the scope of the CSLR, such as:
- Managed investment schemes (a form of collective investment where investors pool money to be managed by a third party, such as a property fund or agricultural scheme).
- Dealing in foreign exchange or derivatives
- Arranging insurance (e.g. through a broker)
- Funeral insurance
Please note this is not an exhaustive list. You can view the details of the legislation here.
Note on the CSLR operator
The Federal Government has asked AFCA to set up the CSLR company, but it will be a separate and independent entity with its own board and funding arrangements put in place by the Government.
An interim website has been set up for further information an updates. Visit cslr.org.au
The Federal Government has said it intends the CSLR company to commence operations in April 2024.