The Australian Securities and Investments Commission's (ASIC) has approved changes to Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) rules, which allow the EDR scheme to investigate eligible complaints dating back to Jan. 01, 2008.
From July 01 to June 30, 2020, Australian consumers and small businesses will be able to lodge complaints about conduct by current member financial firms, which AFCA, its predecessor schemes, courts, or tribunals have not previously dealt with.
“AFCA’s ability to consider legacy complaints dating back to 2008 provides people with the opportunity to now have their matters independently reviewed,” said David Locke, AFCA chief ombudsman and CEO.
“We have identified thousands of complaints that could potentially be made to AFCA, based on those that were lodged but deemed outside the jurisdiction of previous schemes. However, there will also be many matters that were never lodged with the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman, or the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal that may now be brought to us. We also expect that these matters are likely to be highly complex, and further complicated by the number of years that have passed since the issue occurred. AFCA will accept complaints from 1 July 2019 and follow our usual practice of referring them back to the financial firms to resolve them.”
Locke said AFCA expects firms to “proactively resolve these legacy matters themselves where possible, as part of their commitment to justly remediate the misconduct of the past and meet the community’s expectations of fairness.”
“Where firms are unable to satisfactorily resolve the complaints, AFCA will start investigating these matters from Oct. 01, 2019,” Locke added.
AFCA also released updated operational guidelines on how it will deal with legacy complaints. The scheme’s expanded jurisdiction may raise novel issues about how AFCA deals with complaints – issues ASIC may need to review if these require or necessitate material changes to the scheme.