Annual Review 2021–22

About the AFCA Independent Review

AFCA is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in accordance with RG267 ‘Oversight of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority’ which requires AFCA to be periodically, independently reviewed.

In 2021, AFCA was pleased to take part in the first independent review of our functions and performance. The Review concluded in November 2021 with the public release of the Independent Review report.

The outcomes of the review were very positive. Key findings were that ‘AFCA is performing well in a difficult operating environment and a changing regulatory landscape’ and ‘AFCA’s decision-making is fair, independent and efficient’.

In the report, the reviewers affirmed AFCA’s ‘critical role in providing consumers and small business with access to a binding, out-of-court dispute resolution service’, and the benefit to financial firms and consumers from this service ‘as an alternative to a court or tribunal process’.

The report confirmed that AFCA’s average time to resolve disputes compared favourably to the performance of predecessor schemes — Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) — as well as its international counterpart in the United Kingdom. In the first two years of operation, AFCA’s overall average time to resolve disputes was 74 days.

The report contained 14 recommendations, with 13 focusing on enhancements and improvements to AFCA’s services. There was one recommendation for government to amend the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) to no longer require authorised credit representatives to be members of AFCA.

We are committed to the continuous improvement of dispute resolution services for all parties and agree in principle with all recommendations.

By March 2022, AFCA had designed a comprehensive three-year program of work to manage the implementation of recommendations in a coordinated way. AFCA’s goal is to consolidate its place in the Australian financial system by responding appropriately to the Review, improving in all areas identified by the Review and being well-positioned for the next Review.

To date, we have made progress on 12 of the 13 recommendations made to AFCA.

More information about the program is publicly available on the AFCA website.

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