The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has approved an update to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) Rules to provide for the transfer and handling of all remaining open complaints from the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) to AFCA by 31 December 2020.
The changes ensure that AFCA has appropriate jurisdiction to deal with the fewer than 10 open complaints that may need to be transferred from the SCT when it ceases operating at the end of December 2020. This will mark the successful transition of all three predecessor EDR schemes to the AFCA jurisdiction.
Under the Rules changes, AFCA will handle each superannuation complaint commencing at the most comparable stage reached by the complaint at the SCT.
The Rules changes also enable AFCA to consider any matters that may be remitted back following appeal from the SCT to the Federal Court.
The Rules changes will not otherwise affect the complaints AFCA can consider.
With the Rules change now approved, both the SCT and AFCA will be contacting complainants and financial firms involved in the complaints to explain the process and ensure a smooth transition.
AFCA CEO and Chief Ombudsman David Locke acknowledged and thanked the SCT and its staff for its work in resolving superannuation complaints over a period of 26 years.
“The Superannuation Complaints Tribunal has successfully resolved nearly all superannuation complaints lodged with it prior to AFCA’s launch on 1 November 2018,” he said.
“We’d like to thank the Tribunal for its continued work to resolve these complaints and for its continued collaboration with AFCA”.
SCT Chairperson John Simpson said the Tribunal is in the process of communicating with all parties involved in any complaints needing to be transferred to AFCA.
“We are in discussions with relevant parties to ensure they’re aware of the changes. We thank the complainants and financial firms with unresolved disputes for their patience and cooperation during this time.”
AFCA will also communicate with all parties involved during the process. Any unresolved complaints are expected to be transferred to AFCA by 1 January 2021.
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
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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.
- AFCA 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.