Updated: 31 July 2020

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has welcomed the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) updated guidance on Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR). 

ASIC released its Regulatory Guide 271 Internal Dispute Resolution earlier today after extensive consultation with stakeholders – including industry, consumer groups and AFCA.

AFCA CEO and Chief Ombudsman David Locke said AFCA strongly supports measures such as the Regulatory Guide 271 to ensure Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) is made as fair, accessible and timely as possible. 

“AFCA firmly believes that IDR plays a crucial role in the framework to resolve complaints about financial services,” Mr. Locke said. “We welcome ASIC’s updated standards and requirements.”

Mr. Locke said IDR processes provide financial firms with an opportunity to resolve complaints before they are lodged with AFCA.

“IDR is the key to early resolution, which benefits consumers, financial firms and the financial sector broadly. In our view, IDR should focus on helping financial firms to improve internal practices to avoid and resolve disputes. The updated guide will not only improve the quality of internal complaint resolution but will enable financial firms to deliver better outcomes for consumers and reduce the need to escalate complaints to external dispute resolution.”

ASIC’s Regulatory Guide 271 Internal Dispute Resolution introduces reduced timeframes for responding to complaints, sets out what information firms must include in written IDR responses and provides guidance for dealing with representatives that do not act in a consumer’s best interest. 

The updated standards and requirements will come into effect on 5 October 2021. 

More information about ASIC Regulatory Guide 271 Internal Dispute Resolution can be found on the ASIC website

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About AFCA

  • The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a non-government ombudsman service providing free, fair and independent help with financial disputes.
  • AFCA is a one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses who have a dispute with their financial firm, over things such as banking, credit, insurance, advice, investments or superannuation.
  • Where an agreement cannot be reached between parties, AFCA can issue decisions that are binding on financial firms.