Following a public consultation and submissions from industry and consumer bodies, an amendment to the Australia Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) Rules to facilitate the transition of any unresolved complaints from the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) prior to ceasing operations will be submitted to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for approval.
From 1 November 2018, AFCA has accepted new superannuation complaints. While the SCT no longer accepts new complaints, it has continued to work on complaints received before AFCA launched. The change to the AFCA Rules will allow AFCA to accept and consider complaints that are not resolved by the SCT before it ceases operations on 31 December 2020.
The SCT has finalised the majority of remaining complaints, however a small number of complaints may not be finalised before the SCT ceases operation and would need to be transferred to AFCA.
After considering the submissions received from stakeholders, AFCA’s proposed changes to the Rules will allow for the transfer of any remaining complaints and establishes AFCA’s approach to any transferred complaints.
The amendments provide that AFCA will consider any complaints transferred from the SCT under the AFCA Rules that apply to superannuation complaints.
Complaints that have not been finalised will enter AFCA’s dispute resolution process at the stage most comparable to the stage the complaint reached at the SCT.
Additionally, the SCT will transfer the complaint files to ensure all information previously provided to the SCT is available to AFCA.
AFCA will also be able to consider any matters that are before the Federal Court on appeal from the SCT that are not finalised prior to SCT ceasing operations, and that require remittal back to be determined again or finalised in accordance with the Court’s decisions.
Pending approval by ASIC, AFCA anticipates the Rules will be released in January 2021.
AFCA will continue to liaise regularly with the SCT on arrangements for the transfer of unresolved SCT complaints. The SCT will communicate with all parties involved in any complaints that need to be transferred to AFCA before and during the transfer. AFCA will also communicate with all parties involved during this process.
The consultation paper, draft amendments to the Rules and draft amendments to the Operational Guidelines are available on the AFCA website at afca.org.au/news/consultation
Published: 4 November 2020
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The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a non-government ombudsman service providing free, fair and independent help with financial disputes. It is a one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses who have a dispute with their financial firm, over things such as banking, credit, insurance, advice, investments or superannuation. Where an agreement cannot be reached between parties, AFCA can issue decisions that are binding on financial firms.