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Authorisation of body to operate the Australian Financial Complaints Authority

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services yesterday announced the authorisation of Australian Financial Complaints Limited to operate the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).

AFCA is the new one-stop-shop for financial complaints, and will replace the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT), the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Credit and Investments Ombudsman.

Key dates were also announced, with SCT set to continue accepting complaints until 31 October 2018. AFCA will commence accepting complaints on 1 November 2018.

There will be no transfer of complaints between SCT and AFCA. Complaints that are withdrawn from SCT will not be able to be lodged with AFCA. SCT will continue to operate beyond AFCA's commencement to resolve existing complaints. This Treasury fact sheet outlines who will deal with complaints based on the date the complaint is made.

Financial firms will be required to become members of AFCA by 21 September 2018. AFCA will, in the coming months, outline the process for applying for membership.

SCT Chairperson Helen Davis reaffirmed SCT's commitment to robust external dispute resolution for superannuation consumers.

"The Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) will continue to work toward a smooth transition, which is essential for current and future complainants," Ms Davis said.

In a separate media release, the Minister announced four appointments to the AFCA board. Claire Mackay (industry director), Andrew Fairley (industry director), Erin Turner (consumer director) and Alan Wein (consumer director) will join Independent Chair Helen Coonan on the board. AFCA will be governed by a board of 11 directors.

Once established, one of the first priorities of the AFCA board will be to commence public consultation on the AFCA terms of reference (to be known as the AFCA Rules). This will be particularly important for superannuation complaints, as some of the provisions formerly enshrined in law will now be captured by the AFCA Rules.

"The AFCA Rules will play an important part in the resolution of superannuation complaints," Ms Davis said. "We encourage all in the industry to engage with the public consultation."

 

For more information about the authorisation of AFCA, please view the full media release available on the Treasury website.

For more information about the board appointments, including biographies of each board member, please view this additional media release on the Treasury website.

For more information about AFCA, please visit AFCA's website.

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