18 October 2018
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has made public its strategy and new brand today (18 October 2018), ahead of its national launch on 1 November 2018.
The strategy includes AFCA’s goals, values and vision. AFCA’s purpose has been defined as – To provide fair, independent and effective solutions for financial disputes.
AFCA has given a commitment in its new strategy to proactively work with consumers, small business and the financial services sector to resolve and reduce financial disputes.
The new independent Ombudsman body plans to do this through innovative solutions, education programs and communication with all stakeholders.
A priority for AFCA will be to influence reform in the financial services sector by raising standards and improving internal practices to avoid and resolve disputes. By doing this and by providing a fair, ethical and trusted service it seeks to help re-build trust and confidence.
AFCA will be open and ready to take complaints from consumers and small business and work with the financial sector from 1 November 2018. It has significantly increased financial thresholds which means its services will be open to handle many more financial disputes than were ever covered by the predecessor schemes.
On publishing AFCA's new strategy, AFCA’s independent Chair, the Hon. Helen Coonan said, “AFCA has a clear vision - to be a world-class ombudsman service, raising standards and minimising disputes, meeting community needs, and trusted by all. Our strategy reflects a new direction and vision for external dispute resolution for financial complaints in Australia”.
AFCA’s strategy places a significant emphasis on accessibility of its services and on the fairness and independence of its decision making.
AFCA Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman, David Locke said, “AFCA will offer an easy to use, efficient, timely and impartial scheme, that is free for all complainants.
We are committed to actively engaging with diverse audiences, including those who may need extra help.”
“AFCA is committed to ensuring that our decisions, actions and services are at all times fair and independent, transparent and accountable, honest and respectful, and proactive and customer focused.”
Mr Locke added, “Today, we have introduced a brand that reinforces our approach – the consumer or small business, the financial sector, and AFCA working towards a resolution.”
Consumers and small businesses will be able to make a complaint online at afca.org.au, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 1800 931 678.
The AFCA scheme consolidates three predecessor external dispute resolution (EDR) schemes – the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT). This transition follows the recommendations made by the 2016 Ramsay Review into external dispute resolution in financial services.
More information about the transition, including the AFCA Rules and Operational Guidelines, is available at AFCA.org.au.
AFCA’s strategic priorities can be viewed here.
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