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CCLSWA is pleased to have had the opportunity to contribute to and endorse the joint submission prepared by the Consumer Action Law Centre on ASIC Consultation Paper 298: Oversight of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority: Update RG139 (Consultation Paper); and ASIC Draft Regulatory Guide 139; Oversight of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (Draft Updated RG139) in April 2018.

The Consultation Paper and Draft Updated RG139 set out the details of ASIC’s oversight of the newly established Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). The Draft Updated RG139 amends or re-structures much of the detailed guidance in the existing RG139, which is the ASIC Regulatory Guide explaining how external dispute resolution schemes obtain initial approval and the requirements of maintaining approval, to facilitate the implementation of a single scheme for all financial services and superannuation complaints.

The submission generally supports ASICS approach to the three issues directly raised in the Consultation Paper:

  • Referring matters to relevant authorities;
  • The role of the Independent assessor; and
  • External Dispute Resolution disclosure obligations.

The joint submission notes that while the Draft Updated RG139 improves clarity and reduces duplication in some areas, in others the removal of detailed guidance is less helpful. The joint submission outlined areas where guidance had been removed from Draft Updated RG139 and made recommendations that this guidance should be retained in the final update.

Some of the other key recommendations made in our joint submission include:

  • That within RG139, ASIC should signal an expectation that AFCA adopt best practice, pro-consumer features from across the schemes to ensure that consumers are not left in a worse position as a result of the reform;
  • That RG139 should require AFCA to publicly report systemic issues, including the name of the trader; and
  • That ‘debt management’ firms are required to join AFCA

You can read the full joint submission here.

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