In the first year of operation of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)awarded $ 185 million to consumers as compensation. Has the AFCA restored the public confidence or is it still a long way to go?
01 November 2019, AtoZMarkets – Australians in conflict with their bank, their insurance provider, their super funds, or other financial companies. They filed 73,000 complaints with the new Financial Sector Ombudsman. They received $ 185 million in compensation during the first 12 months of operation of the company.
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is celebrating 12 months today. It opened as a one-stop-shop in the country for complaints about financial companies. Already it has replaced three old external dispute resolution schemes.
Complaints filed with AFCA
Between November 1, 2018, and October 31, 2019, 73,272 complaints were filed with AFCA. It represents a 40 percent increase in complaints received from previous AFCA predecessor schemes. This was during the 2017/18 fiscal year received a combined total of 52,232 claims.
Of the complaints filed, 56,420 were resolved, and the majority were resolved in 60 days or less. Some of these complaints included the complaints directed to the Forex broker AGM Markets. Nevertheless, research conducted in July of this year showed that only three percent of Australians knew AFCA. Yet, despite the need to raise awareness, Australians file nearly 200 complaints a day. AFCA Chief Executive Officer and Chief Ombudsman David Locke said that AFCA is a fair, free, and independent service. The public and its members were increasingly appreciative of this approach to dispute resolution.
They take their commitment to fairness and independence very seriously, and they encourage the financial company to resolve the issue as much as possible. Statistics show that 70% of all claims completed in the last 12 months. Nevertheless, the increase in the number of complaints they hear at AFCA. That indicates there still have work to do to improve their practices and restore public confidence in financial firms.
Achievements Of Australian Financial Complaints Authority
Mr. Locke was proud of the achieved milestones of the AFCA and its staff in its first year of operation. Establishing AFCA as a new organization and dealing with a 40% increase in the number of complaints would have never been easy. And they continue to improve how they operate according to him. AFCA has also experienced a significant growth in staff to meet demand. And it has launched the first phase of a national roadshow to promote its service across the country.
The Financial Fairness Roadshow has been a great success. So far, they have visited 26 locations in Tasmania, Victoria, ACT, and New South Wales. There they have spoken with more than 7,000 people. They are planning a tour of the rest of the country in the first half of 2020. Locke said AFCA has also organized forums for small businesses, consumer advocates, and AFCA members in 10 locations coinciding with the Roadshow’s itinerary.
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