AFCA has multiple projects underway to enhance our dispute resolution service and improve the experience for members and complainants.

Since the Independent Review report was released, AFCA has used the findings as key inputs into our existing projects to further strengthen their outputs and allow us to effectively respond to the review.

This page includes the latest project update, as well as a summary of all the recommendations and AFCA's response.

For more information on the Independent Review process and final report visit the about the Independent Review page.

AFCA's response to the Independent Review 

AFCA is committed to continuous improvement. It is our goal to be a world-class ombudsman scheme. Prior to the Independent Review, AFCA had already commenced several projects aimed at improving its service. This included our Fairness Jurisdiction Project, transformation of our Systemic Issues function, and investments in new technology, systems and processes. 

The Independent Review recommendations – and the areas for improvement identified in the report – provided AFCA with the opportunity to not only progress this important existing work but commence additional projects that would support our goal of becoming a world-class ombudsman service.

Three-year program of work

Following the report, AFCA designed a comprehensive three-year program of work to manage the implementation of the recommendations in a coordinated way. This program of work commenced in 2022 and will conclude at the end of 2024.

To date, AFCA has completed eight recommendations with two more to be closed when we update our Rules on 1 July 2024. We remain on track to finalise the remaining three recommendations by the end of 2024.

Find out more about the progress made so far below.

Work underway

Recommendation 1

Dealing with further issues raised during the complaint process.


Completion status


Status: On track for completion in 2024

Recommendation 2

Ensuring all AFCA decisions consider what is fair in all the circumstances.


Completion status


Status: On track for completion in 2024

Recommendation 3

Not advocating or acting in a manner that compromises impartiality.


Completion status


Status: Completed in 2024

Recommendation 4

Addressing poor conduct by some paid advocates.


Completion status


Status: To complete with Rules update on 1 July

Recommendation 5

Improving transparency of timeliness and better managing timeliness expectations


Completion status


Status: Completed in 2024

Recommendation 6

Complaints by sophisticated or professional investors.


Completion status


Status: To complete with Rules update on 1 July

Recommendation 7

Ensuring funding model design does not disincentivise firms from defending complaints.


Completion status


Status: Completed in 2022

Recommendation 8

Improving transparency of AFCA fees and the services and activities they fund.


Completion status


Status: Completed in 2022

Recommendation 9

Enhancing visibility, accessibility and independence of the forward-looking review mechanism.

Completion status


Status:  On track for completion in 2024

Recommendation 10

Improving visibility of the Independent Assessor to all parties to a complaint.


Completion status


Status: Completed in 2022

Recommendation 11

Consulting on AFCA Approaches prior to finalisation to identify unintended consequences.


Completion status


Status: Completed in 2024

Recommendation 12

Systemic issues that have been referred to ASIC or another regulator.


Completion status


Status: Completed in 2023

Recommendation 13

Improving transparency of systemic issues in public reporting.


Completion status


Status: Completed in 2022

Recommendation 14

Amending legislation to no longer require authorised credit representatives to be AFCA members.

Completion status


Status: Legislative change required.

Update icon

March 2024 update

With less than nine months left of what has been a significant program of work under AFCA’s Independent Review response, I'm delighted to share that we’ve now responded fully to eight of Treasury’s recommendations, with two more to be closed when we update our Rules on 1 July 2024. 

This quarter, AFCA achieved some notable milestones. We launched AFCA's Approach to Lending to Small Business, which also marks the completion of Recommendation 11 by setting out the consultation process for finalising an Approach document. This accomplishment represents a big step forward in simplifying our processes and enhancing how we engage with stakeholders.  

ASIC has formally approved material changes to AFCA’s Rules and Operational Guidelines, marking the culmination of extensive consultation efforts undertaken in 2023. These changes, effective 1 July 2024, will bolster AFCA’s ability to manage disputes effectively and provide clearer guidance on our jurisdiction and processes.  

The transformation of our operations in the last two years has been remarkable. We’re on track to complete all our objectives and respond to all recommendations in full by the end of the year.

Dr June Smith

AFCA’s Approach to Lending to Small Business is now live

AFCA published its final Lending to Small Business Approach document (formerly known as Appropriate Lending to Small Business) on 15 January 2024, alongside a consultation feedback report that outlines how we responded to formal submissions and stakeholder feedback. All non-confidential submissions were published in November 2023. The final Responsible Lending Approach document was also published in December 2023.

The Approaches were developed in response to calls from stakeholders to provide greater clarity around AFCA’s existing approach and to ensure consistency in AFCA complaint outcomes in these complex areas. To ensure it is meeting the needs of stakeholders and is not producing any unintended outcomes, we intend to check in on the operation of both Approaches in 2024. We will provide more information about the format of this review closer to the time.

Training on both Approaches has been rolled out. There are online training modules and face-to-face training is being delivered to relevant case management teams and the Industry Advisors.

We have also finalised the governance model for developing AFCA Approach documents, which responds to Recommendation 11 of the Independent Review. This comprehensive model encompasses the entire life cycle of an Approach document, including outlining our process for consulting with external stakeholders.

AFCA Rules changes approved by ASIC

ASIC has formally approved material changes to the AFCA scheme following the consultation on changes to AFCA’s Rules and Operational Guidelines in 2023. New versions of AFCA’s Rules and Operational Guidelines will be published on 1 July 2024 with changes that will: 

  • Increase AFCA’s ability to manage unreasonable or inappropriate conduct within the scheme from Complainants and Paid Representatives
  • Deal with complaints where an appropriate offer of settlement has been made or where issues in dispute have been previously settled
  • Provide further guidance and clarity on the exclusion of complaints lodged by professional or sophisticated investors unless exceptions apply
  • Enhance the visibility, accessibility and performance of the Forward-Looking Review Mechanism
  • Clarify the effect of AFCA determinations and how the slip rule works to ensure greater transparency and understanding of AFCA’s decision making
  • Make minor changes to definitions and language to update certain areas of the Rules arising from legislative change, to give greater clarity and transparency of the scheme’s operation overall, and
  • Make minor changes to clarify AFCA’s reporting and transparency obligations.

These changes were developed in response to recommendations made in Treasury's Independent Review of AFCA – with some additional changes to help ensure our Rules and Operational Guidelines remain accurate, up-to-date and provide clearer guidance about AFCA’s jurisdiction and processes.

This was the most significant review of AFCA’s Rules and Operational Guidelines since AFCA was established. The proposed changes to the Rules and Operational Guidelines were designed to implement the Review’s recommendations and ensure AFCA continues to provide efficient, timely operations so we can deliver fair, independent and effective solutions for financial disputes.

More information about next steps will be shared with our members and stakeholders soon.

    Latest Systemic Issues Insights Report

    AFCA has launched its latest Systemic Issues Insights Report for July to December 2023. 

    In the reported period, AFCA identified and investigated 111 systemic issues resulting in more than $40 million in remediation being returned to 139,011 consumers. This is compared with $61 million returned to 145,480 in the previous report covering January to June 2023. 

    The report shares data and findings from a range of recent systemic issues cases across the industry, including:

    • Failure to respond to complaints within the required timeframes  
    • Compliance with obligations under AFCA Rules 
    • Breach of policy terms  
    • Poor claims handling, and 
    • Incorrect cancellation of insurance cover.

    The report is part of AFCA’s ongoing commitment to transparency around AFCA’s systemic issues function coming out of Recommendation 13. 

    For more information, visit AFCA’s Systemic Issues page.

    New member resources on systemic issues

    AFCA’s Systemic Issues team launched a new suite of member tools and resources, now available on the member resources page. These resources are designed to support member firms in navigating and effectively addressing possible systemic issues. Here’s what’s included:

    • Member response guide: A comprehensive tool to assist members in providing the necessary information to senior systemic issues specialists, ensuring a best practice response or submission.
    • Guide to systemic issues: Gain insights into AFCA’s Systemic Issues function, including how we work with firms and regulators to identify, report, investigate and resolve systemic issues. Learn about common causes and examples of possible systemic issues.
    • Process fact sheet: Access AFCA’s Systemic Issues process flow chart, offering a clear overview of how we identify and assess possible systemic issues and how we work with firms to address them.
    • Systemic Issues video: A short learning snap that tells you about systemic issues and how we work alongside firms and regulators to identify, address and resolve possible systemic issues.

    These resources, along with AFCA’s Systemic Issues Insights Reports, serve as a central learning hub where members and other stakeholders can learn about AFCA’s Systemic Issues function and how to respond to potential systemic issues. They have been developed as part of our ongoing commitment to enhancing our services and in part respond to Recommendations 12 and 13 of the Independent Review.

    The Independent Review Recommendations related to systemic issues came about due to feedback from stakeholders who were concerned about a perceived overlap in role between AFCA and ASIC, and in an external environment in which new breach reporting obligations are expected of financial firms. Firms were concerned that there was a duplication in work by reporting to ASIC and working with AFCA on systemic issues.

    We will close an investigation where we become aware that a firm has reported an issue to ASIC and the firm is engaging with ASIC on the same issue and for the same outcome. This is to ensure we prevent actual overlap and reduce the risk of duplication. Financial firms should let us know as early as possible if they have breach reported the same issue to a regulator.

    For more information, please visit the systemic issues webpage or the member resources page.

    Progress across a range of other recommendations

    AFCA has made significant progress across several recommendations, including: 

    • Preparation of guidelines to support consistent treatment of further issues is underway (Recommendation 1). 
    • Independent Decision Review draft report has been received assessing fairness and impartiality for a sample of AFCA determinations (Recommendations 2 & 3) an internal review is underway which will result in management responses being agreed and implemented. 
    • Two recommendations are being finalised following ASIC’s approval of changes to AFCA's Rules and Operational Guidelines, for complaints lodged on or after 1 July 2024 (Recommendations 4 & 6).

    Sorry, we’re currently offline.

    Would you like to end your chat with AFCA?

    Please bear in mind that your conversation will not be saved.

    AFCA chat service terms and conditions

    Welcome to our live chat help service.

    Please be advised we cannot provide you with financial or legal advice. However, we may be able to refer you to a community legal centre or financial counselling service if you need help.

    Our live chat is operated by Genesys Cloud on behalf of AFCA. Any personal information provided in this chat will be captured by both organisations in accordance with their privacy policies, available at and


    We provide consumers and small businesses with fair, free and independent dispute resolution for financial complaints.

    Please enter your details to start your chat with an AFCA representative.

    Please enter your name
    Please enter a valid email address
    Please enter a valid phone number

    We provide consumers and small businesses with fair, free and independent dispute resolution for financial complaints.

    Welcome to our live chat help service.

    An agent should be with you shortly.