ASIC marks AFCA milestone

Corporate regulator ASIC said it has approved the Australian Financial Complaints Authority's complaint resolution rules, marking a significant milestone in time for its November 1 launch.

ASIC gave the green light on the AFCA's complaint resolution scheme, which sets out rules and processes applied to all complaints, including superannuation complaints.

It also approved the independent assessor terms of reference; a person or business directly affected by how AFCA deals with a complaint can complain to the independent assessor.

Under statutory requirements, all financial firms including most credit representatives that deal with retail clients must join the AFCA scheme by 21 September 2018.

Almost all Financial Ombudsman Scheme members have transferred their membership to AFCA, ASIC said.

Only 64% of superannuation trustees and retirement savings accounts providers have joined.

About 80% of members of the Credit and Investments Ombudsman Scheme have signed up.

Under the Corporations Act, ASIC is required to approve material changes to the AFCA scheme and part of its role in overseeing the operation of AFCA.

ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said approval of the AFCA rules and the independent assessor terms of reference follow a period of public consultation and feedback.

Further material changes to the AFCA scheme will also need to be approved by ASIC, he said.

AFCA chair Helen Coonan welcomed ASIC's approval.

"AFCA will provide consumers and small business with access to fair, free and independent complaint resolution," Coonan said.

"We look forward to working with ASIC, and consumer, small business and industry stakeholders in implementing this important reform, which will assist in restoring trust and confidence in the financial services industry," she said.

Read more: AFCAASICAustralian Financial Complaints AuthorityHelen CoonanFinancial Ombudsman SchemeInvestments Ombudsman SchemePeter Kell
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