Credit: Dispute resolution
Financial firms must have a dispute resolution system that consists of:
- internal dispute resolution (IDR) procedures that meet the standards or requirements made or approved by ASIC; and
- membership of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
Note: ASIC Regulatory Guide 267 Oversight of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (RG 267) sets out who must have a dispute resolution system and which financial firms must be members of AFCA.
Internal dispute resolution (IDR)
Regulatory Guide 271 Internal dispute resolution (RG 271) sets out how financial firms that are required to comply with IDR requirements can meet their obligations. The requirements relate to matters such as how firms must record and respond to complaints, and the timeframes for doing so.
Note: RG 271 applies to complaints received from 5 October 2021. Regulatory Guide 165 Licensing: Internal and external dispute resolution (RG 165) applies to complaints received by financial firms before 5 October 2021. We will withdraw RG 165 on 5 October 2022.
Internal dispute resolution data reporting
Certain financial firms are required to report data to ASIC on complaints managed through their IDR procedures under RG 271.
External dispute resolution (EDR)
Regulatory Guide 267 Oversight of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (RG 267) sets out which financial firms must be members of AFCA and how ASIC will perform its oversight role in relation to AFCA.
AFCA is a single dispute resolution scheme for financial services and commenced operations on 1 November 2018.
AFCA replaced the Financial Ombudsman Service Limited (FOS), Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and the statutory Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) (the predecessor schemes).
AFCA can consider complaints about:
- credit, finance and loans
- banking deposits and payments
- investments and financial advice
Notifying ASIC of changes to your AFCA membership
You must inform ASIC in writing about changes to your AFCA membership.
This includes circumstances where:
- you fail to renew your AFCA membership,
- you no longer require AFCA membership; or
- AFCA has terminated your membership of the scheme.
More about your ongoing AFS obligations
Predecessor dispute resolution schemes
- ASIC-approved EDR schemes
- Superannuation Complaints Tribunal
- Open complaints at a predecessor scheme
- Dispute resolution and consumers
ASIC approved EDR schemes
Prior to the commencement of AFCA, there were two schemes approved by ASIC under the Corporations Act and the National Consumer Credit Protection Act operating in the financial services and consumer credit industries.
- Financial Ombudsman Service Limited (FOS)
- Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO)
These schemes were approved under ASIC Regulatory Guide 139 Approval and oversight of external dispute resolution schemes (RG 139). RG 139 provided the framework for the approved versions of the FOS terms of reference and CIO rules.
Now that AFCA has replaced FOS and the CIO as the authorised EDR scheme for financial services and consumer credit related complaints, any complaints that remained open with the predecessor schemes at the time the predecessor schemes ended are dealt with by AFCA according to specific rules of the relevant predecessor scheme and in line with the framework in RG 139. RG 139 will remain in force until all those complaints are closed. At that time, ASIC will withdraw RG 139.
Superannuation Complaints Tribunal
The Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) was an independent tribunal set up by the Commonwealth Government to deal with complaints about superannuation funds, annuities and deferred annuities, and retirement savings accounts.
The SCT has ceased operations.
Open complaints at a predecessor scheme
AFCA is handling all open complaints made to a predecessor scheme in accordance with the rules of the relevant scheme. This means that:
- All FOS disputes that were received by FOS before 1 November 2018 and that were open on or after 1 November 2018 will be handled under the existing FOS Terms of Reference.
- All CIO disputes that were received by the CIO before 1 November 2018 and that were open on or after 1 November 2018 will be handled under the existing CIO Rules.
- All SCT complaints that were received by the SCT before 1 November 2018 and were open on or after 1 November 2018 will be handled under the SCT’s jurisdiction.
Dispute resolution and consumers
Information about dispute resolution for consumers is on ASIC’s consumer website Moneysmart.
- Regulatory Guide 205 Credit licensing: General conduct obligations (RG 205)
- Information Sheet 146 Responsible lending disclosure obligations: Overview for credit licensees and representatives (INFO 146)
- Information Sheet 135 Annual compliance certificates for credit licensees (INFO 135)
- Information Sheet 126 Credit representatives (INFO 126)
- Regulatory index – Credit