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Review of AFCA underway

The government has released terms of reference for the review of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority, asking for stakeholder feedback.

The review will be conducted by Treasury, aiming to test whether AFCA is operating effectively and achieving its objectives.

The terms of reference consider how AFCA is delivering against its statutory objectives of resolving complaints in a way that is fair, efficient, timely and independent.

Stakeholders are asked to provide feedback on AFCA's dispute resolution approach, process for identifying responses to systemic issues and whether its funding and fee structures impact competition.

At the moment, AFCA's independent assessor has the ability to review complaints about the standard of service provided by AFCA but does not have the power to review the merits or substance of an AFCA decision. Treasury is asking stakeholders where this scope and remit for the independent assessor is appropriate and effective.

Treasury also wants to understand whether there is a need for AFCA to have an internal mechanism where the substance of its decision can be reviewed. The review asks for feedback on how such a mechanism should operate to ensure consumers and small business have access to timely decisions by AFCA.

"The establishment of AFCA represented significant reform of financial services complaints resolution in Australia," AFCA chief ombudsman and chief executive David Locke said.

"We are proud of all that AFCA has achieved in the space of two years. AFCA welcomes the opportunity to make a submission and put forward our views of how external dispute resolution for the financial services industry can be further improved."

Once stakeholder feedback is received, a report on the efficacy of AFCA will be published by 30 June 2021.

Read more: AFCATreasuryAustralian Financial Complaints AuthorityDavid Locke
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