- About this Annual Review
- Year at a glance
- Acknowledgement of country
- Board Chair message
- Chief Executive Officer and Chief Ombudsman message
- Organisational overview
- AFCA Independent Review
- Who complained to AFCA?
- Overview of complaints
- Open cases
- Closed cases
- Banking and finance complaints
- Buy now pay later
- Financial difficulty complaints
- Small business complaints
- General insurance complaints
- Significant events
- Life insurance complaints
- Superannuation complaints
- Investments and advice complaints
- Complaints lodged by consumer advocates and financial counsellors
- Legacy complaints
- Complaints outside AFCA’s Rules
- Systemic issues
- Code compliance and monitoring
- Previous schemes
- Engagement, awareness and accessibility
- Corporate information
- AFCA General Purpose Financial Report 2021–22
- Appendix 1
Our principles of engagement are directly linked to our organisational values. In all our stakeholder engagement activities we commit to the following:
- Engagement is purposeful and targeted.
- We clearly identify the people and organisations we want to engage with.
- We engage proactively and not only when we need support.
- We manage how we are perceived in the broader external environment.
Who we engage with
AFCA has a broad range of external stakeholders. They range from those who use our service to those who are interested in AFCA’s broader role in informing reform and improving industry practice.
We work in a proactive manner with financial firms to share insights and information that can help raise standards in the industry and improve practices.
AFCA also regularly engages with consumer advocates, including financial counsellors, community lawyers and financial capability workers.
Our stakeholders are important to us and give valuable feedback and insights, so that we can provide the best possible service. As such, we follow a robust engagement program that includes forums, liaison groups, one-on-one meetings, events, consultations, webinars, newsletters and social media.
The AFCA website contains information about AFCA and our service, including the types of complaints we consider, updates and the steps to lodge a complaint.
The AFCA online complaint form is accessible via our website. It allows consumers to lodge complaints at a time that suits them, including outside office hours.
From 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, the AFCA website had 760,380 unique visitors and 3,224,821 total page views.
The most visited webpages were the AFCA home page, make a complaint page, make a complaint insurance page, members page, the process we follow page and the previous EDR scheme page.
We use social media to engage with consumers about the work we do, the types of complaints we consider and how to lodge a complaint if they have a dispute with their financial firm. We also use social media to communicate with members and other financial industry stakeholders.
Engaging with our stakeholders on social media platforms provides proactive opportunities to announce important updates about our service, significant events and media releases. We can talk directly with interested parties about the work we do, internally and externally, promote employer brand and increase awareness and accessibility. Facebook, in particular, allows us to encourage consumers to contact their financial firm about their complaint before lodging a complaint with AFCA.
We use direct messaging on Facebook and Twitter to provide consumers with an alternative to our Live Chat function. We answer standard questions about our service, share links to webpages and direct consumers to make a complaint, if required.
As at 30 June 2022, we had 2,588 Twitter followers, 3,096 Facebook page followers and 13,578 LinkedIn followers.
Conferences and events
Throughout the financial year, AFCA team members attended events in multiple capacities including as keynote speakers and presenters, panel discussion members, and training workshop hosts and facilitators.
Events included one-on-one meetings, forums, e-forums, virtual meetings and community forums. We also continued to support the financial counselling sector by providing professional development and covering topics such as small business and natural disasters, and insurance.
Events AFCA attended and participated in included:
- Association of Independently Owned Financial Professionals’ Conference
- Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association Conference
- Australian Banking Association Conference
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Annual Consumer Congress
- Australian Finance Industry Association Risk Summit
- Australian Insurance Law Association’s National Conference
- Australian Prudential Regulation Authority GRC2021 Annual Conference
- Broome CIRCLE’s round table on financial issues facing remote Aboriginal communities
- Council of Small Business Organisations Australia’s National Summit
- Financial Counselling Australia Conference 2022
- Financial Counsellors’ Association of NSW Annual State Conference
- Financial Counsellors’ Association of Queensland Annual State Conference
- Insurance Council of Australia’s Virtual Insurance Panel
- Institute of Public Accountants National Congress 2021
- Professional Planner’s Licensee Summit
- Self-Manage Super Funds Association Conference
- Sydney Mardi Gras Fair Day
- TAL Risk Academy Professional Year Community events
- World Consumer Rights Day 2022 Summit
AFCA attended 10 meetings (including one online) alongside the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) and insurers for storm-impacted residents in Victoria, New South Wales and South-East Queensland throughout 2021–22.
The purpose of these meetings was to provide customers an opportunity to discuss the progress of their claim and work through any issues with their insurers. AFCA will continue to participate in these events as needed to ensure consumers are aware of AFCA, our services and their options.
The community engagement team provides a solid platform for AFCA to listen to a diverse range of voices, ensuring we are meeting community expectations, and promoting accessibility and trust.
The team delivers AFCA’s consumer engagement activities, including supporting our internal and external networks of trusted advisers who proactively inform us of issues, provide insights and contribute to our continuous improvement.
AFCA Consumer Advisory Panel
The AFCA Consumer Advisory Panel (ACAP) is composed of 11 consumer representatives who meet quarterly with our Senior Leadership Group. The panel provides insights and analysis on the consumer-facing elements of AFCA strategy and policy, consumer-related projects and shares real-time information about the financial problems Australians are facing, including challenges accessing financial products and services.
Panel members represent the communities we serve including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse communities and people experiencing financial difficulty.
In 2021–22, topics discussed included:
- regulatory and environmental change impacts
- financial hardship and vulnerability
- responsible lending
- banking and insurance issues.
Consumer Advocate Liaison Meetings
Alongside AFCA’s Consumer Advisory Panel, we also convene a larger community of practice through Consumer Advocate Liaison Meetings (CALM). CALM includes representatives from over 25 advocacy, financial counselling and community legal services. It provides us with a great opportunity to strengthen the pathway for trusted, two-way referrals and to ensure we are meeting community expectations.
Hosted by AFCA senior managers, CALM participants discuss our service delivery and share information about how we can improve the accessibility of our service and better support vulnerable people. In line with feedback we received from ACAP, there is an opportunity for AFCA to improve our service by providing tailored and flexible solutions that take a complainant’s individual circumstances into account.
AFCA has a dedicated membership team that assists AFCA members with the management of their membership including applications, online assessments, annual forecasting and everyday membership enquires.
AFCA member forums are a great opportunity for our members to learn from AFCA’s senior staff, including ombudsmen and senior Case Management leaders. The forums give our members insights into complaint trends and issues, as well as the opportunity to understand how to apply this knowledge to their complaint handling practices, with the ultimate goal of minimising complaints.
The member forums facilitate a two-way conversation with our members about AFCA’s processes and allow members to learn about our approach to decision making.
In 2021–22, AFCA held two virtual member forums, and both had over 4,000 members register to participate. These forums included dedicated sessions on banking and finance, superannuation, life insurance, general insurance, and investments and advice.
During the year we also held seven member webinars.
- The RG271 webinar was co-hosted by ASIC and aimed to inform members about the RG271 legislative updates and what those changes meant for AFCA members. This webinar reached over 5,000 members and saw high participation.
- The ‘Better complaint outcomes through communication’ webinar was targeted toward AFCA members who wanted to learn more about behaviour styles, communication and negotiation techniques. This webinar had over 2,000 engaged members and a 91% satisfaction score.
- As part of our consultation process for the new AFCA funding model, we also held five industry webinars that were attended by 1,200 members.
Industry liaison group meetings
Our industry liaison groups usually meet between two and four times a year to discuss issues relating to their specific industry. The group consists of 12–20 senior representatives from member firms, industry associations and AFCA.
Our industry groups represent superannuation, investments and advice, general insurance, life insurance, professional indemnity and medical indemnity.
AFCA regularly publishes news about AFCA, external dispute resolution and the financial services industry on our member portal. Each month a newsletter digest of the latest news is sent to more than 35,000 subscribers.
“You handled the complaint wonderfully. I was kept informed as the process progressed.”