The Australian Financial Complaints Authority or ‘AFCA’ is a new external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme to deal with complaints from consumers in the financial system. It will be operated by a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee authorised by the responsible minister.
AFCA replaces the three existing EDR schemes of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) so that consumers have access to a single EDR scheme.
Membership of the company will be required under law or a licence condition of a financial firm. AFCA operations will be financed by contributions made by its members. The scheme will be free to consumers. AFCA will:
- be the single point of contact for complainants for EDR services;
- have higher monetary limits;
- be more accountable to users, including by having an independent assessor to deal with complaints about its handling of disputes; and
- have rules (terms of reference) to support its dispute resolution functions and legislation in the case of superannuation disputes.