New financial ombudsman reveals strategy ahead of launch

18 October 2018
| By Nicholas Grove |
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The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), the new dispute resolution body which brings together the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman, and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, has unveiled its strategy and new brand ahead of being open to taking complaints from consumers and small business on 1 November 2018. 

AFCA, which is the result of recommendations made by the 2016 Ramsay Review into external dispute resolution in financial services, has defined its purpose as being a provider of “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 organisation said.

“The new independent ombudsman body plans to do this through innovative solutions, education programs and communication with all stakeholders.”

AFCA said one of its priorities would 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, AFCA said it seeks to help rebuild trust and confidence.   

It also claimed its services would be open to handling “many more financial disputes than were ever covered by the predecessor schemes”.

AFCA’s independent chairman Helen Coonan said the new organisation’s strategy reflects a “new direction and vision for external dispute resolution for financial complaints in Australia”.

AFCA’s chief executive and chief ombudsman, David Locke, said the service would 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,” he said.

“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.”

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