Hopefully, you have already completed your Financial Ombudsman Service Australia (“FOS“) annual assessment and member declaration for the purpose of transitioning your FOS membership to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (“AFCA”).

AFCA will commence accepting disputes on 1 November 2018 and as a result, ASIC has implemented Regulatory Guide 267 which provides guidance in relation to ASIC’s oversight of AFCA for the purposes of setting out how ASIC will administer its powers and perform its oversight role in relation to AFCA.

During the transition to AFCA, ASIC has provided the following disclosure relief to all financial firms:

  • Updates to mandatory disclosure documents and periodic statements to include the contact details of the AFCA must be made by 1 July 2019;
  • Issuers of financial products will not be required to issue significant event notifications under s1017B of the Corporations Act associated with the transition to AFCA; and
  • The inclusion of information about predecessor schemes and AFCA in any final complaint response letters or complaint resolution delay letters as detailed in the table below:
Date of LetterEDR Scheme Inclusions
On or after 21 September and before 1 November 2018Details of both predecessor schemes and AFCA are required to be included.
Between 1 November 2018 and 1 February 2019Details of both predecessor schemes and AFCA may continue to be included provided it is clear only AFCA can receive complaints after 1 November 2018.
After 1 February 2019Details of AFCA only are to be included.

Financial service providers should plan ahead to ensure all updates required to disclosure and compliance documents are made within the required timeframes. Sophie Grace can assist you with making these updates. Please contact us for further information.

Background

AFCA is a 3-in-1 external dispute resolution (“EDR“) scheme which replaces the existing FOS, Credit and Investments Ombudsman (“CIO“) and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (“SCT“) scheme. AFCA is intended to allow for a more centralised and effective method for dealing with financial services, credit and superannuation disputes.

For further information on the transition from FOS to AFCA, please contact us.