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Complaints Handling Requirements – 1 year of the new regime

New complaints handling requirements came into effect on 5 October 2021. These changes apply to both Australian Financial Services Licence (“AFSL”) holders dealing with retail clients and Australian Credit Licence (“ACL”) holders (together “Licensees”). Regulatory Guide 271 (“RG271”) outlines the updated requirements for how Licensees deal with complaints under their Internal Dispute Resolution (“IDR”) processes.

What Changes were Made?

The updated standards and requirements in RG271 ensure that consumers have access to fair and timely complaints handling processes.

Some of the key changes made in RG 271 include:

  • amending the definition of ‘complaint’ to include complaints made to a Licensee’s social media channel;
  • a reduced timeframe for responding to complaints from forty-five (45) calendar days to thirty (30) calendar days for standard complaints;
  • outlining the information required for written IDR responses to assist consumers in determining whether to escalate their complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (“AFCA”);
  • guidance for the identification and management of systemic issues;
  • requirements in relation to the complaints data which a Licensee must maintain;
  • the requirement to make a Licensee’s complaints policy publicly available on its website and readily accessible in a range of formats and languages.

When did the New Changes Come into Effect?

RG271 applies to complaints received by Licensees on or after 5 October 2021.

For complaints received before 5 October 2021, Regulatory Guide 165 (“RG165”) applies. ASIC will withdraw RG165 on 5 October 2022.

How We Can Help

Update your IDR policy to ensure it aligns with the changes which came into effect on 5 October 2021. Sophie Grace have a range of template policies available for purchase and instant download from our online shop to help with this process.

Licensees can purchase the relevant IDR policies below:

Contact us you require further assistance or wish for Sophie Grace to assist in updating your current IDR policy.


Complaints handling is a crucial first step in the dispute resolution process and plays a vital role in maintaining relationships with clients.

RG271 was released after extensive consultation with consumer and industry representatives with the aim of raising IDR standards across the financial sector.

ASIC has set standards and requirements for Licensees to have a dispute resolution system in place that consists of:

  • an IDR procedure that complies with standards and requirements made or approved by ASIC; and
  • membership of AFCA.

ASIC’s overarching objectives include the promotion of:

  • confident and informed participation of consumers and investors in the Australian financial system;
  • fairness, honesty and professionalism by those who provide financial and credit services;
  • fair, orderly and transparent markets; and
  • the reduction of systemic risks.

Further Reading

Contact Information

If you have any questions about the new complaints handling requirements and how these will affect you, please contact us.

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