The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has welcomed the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) announcement that it has approved a change to AFCA’s Rules to allow it to investigate certain complaints dating back to 1 January 2008.
From 1 July 2019, Australian consumers and small business will be able to lodge complaints with AFCA about the conduct of financial firms dating back to 1 January 2008.
AFCA has a 12-month window to accept and investigate these complaints; which must not have been dealt with by AFCA, its predecessor schemes, courts, or tribunals.
AFCA Chief Ombudsman and CEO David Locke has warmly welcomed this change saying, “AFCA’s ability to consider legacy complaints dating back to 2008 provides people with the opportunity to now have their matters independently reviewed.”
“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,” Mr Locke said.
“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.
“It is our expectation that firms will 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 1 October 2019.”