For many victims of financial disputes, it can be a daunting process to navigate recovering your funds. You may have tried to resolve the issue with the financial provider and have had no response or success.
Where do you go next?
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a non-government dispute resolution organisation providing free, fair and independent help with disputes between consumers and financial providers. It is compulsory for all Australian Financial Services Licence and Australian Credit Licence providers to be members of AFCA. To have a complaint considered by AFCA it has to be within six years after you first became aware of the loss. With an exception of the current one-year window to consider complaints dating back to 1 January 2008. AFCA is only allowed to accept legacy complaints until 30 June 2020.
First Federal Budget in the wake of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
2019-20 Federal Budget
Last week saw the first Federal Budget in the wake of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. The Federal Government announced they will provide $606.7 million over five years in response to the Royal Commission:
Use of Funding Amount
$2.6 million - Designing and implementing an industry-funded compensation scheme of last resort (CSLR) for consumers and small businesses.
$2.8 million - Providing the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) with additional funding to help establish a historical redress scheme to consider eligible financial complaints dating back to 1 January 2008.
$30.7 million - Paying compensation owed to consumers and small businesses from legacy unpaid external dispute resolution determinations.
$404.8 million - Resourcing the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to implement it new enforcement strategy and expand its capabilities and roles in accordance with the recommendations of the Royal Commission.
$145.0 million - Resourcing the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to strengthen its supervisory and enforcement activities which will support its response to key areas of concern raised by the Royal Commission, including with respect to governance, culture and remuneration.
$7.7 million - Establishing an independent financial regulator oversight authority, to assess and report on the effectiveness of ASIC and APRA in discharging their functions and meeting their statutory objectives.
$1.0 million - Undertaking a capability review of APRA, which will examine its effectiveness and efficiency in delivering its statutory mandate, as well as its capability to respond to the Royal Commission.
$11.2 million - Establishing a Financial Services Reform Implementation Taskforce within the Treasury to implement the government’s response to the Royal Commission, and co-ordinate reform efforts with APRA, ASIC and other agencies through an implementation steering committee.
$0.9 million - Providing the Office of Parliamentary Counsel with additional funding for the volume of the legislative drafting that will be required to implement the government’s response to the Royal Commission.
ASIC has largely won a landmark case against Melbourne businessman Bill Lewski, former federal health minister Michael Wooldridge and other directors of failed property group Prime Trust, with the High Court ruling the men had breached their duties as directors. The High Court found it “cannot ignore the injustice caused to members by an amendment that permits $33 million of their equity to be paid away without authority”. The Federal Court is to reassess the penalties and disqualification periods for the directors.
The royal commission will spend the next two weeks hearing evidence about misconduct and conduct falling below community expectations within Australia’s superannuation sector. We are representing many people that have been mislead and their nest egg was not what they expected for retirement. Reform is needed especially with our ageing population.
Renewed calls for a last resort compensation scheme to cover customers when their adviser's firm ceases to exist
SR Group is standing firmly with Professor Ramsay's review for the federal government recommending the establishment of a compensation scheme of last resort for victims of poor financial advice. With the Royal commission dedicating public hearings to financial advice and Dover showcased it is an area needing the most immediate attention of last resort compensation. Time for reform.
In a letter to Malcolm Turnbull last week Bill Shorten has suggested an extension of the inquiry, an apology and compensation scheme were the “least the government can do” in the future. SR Group sees this as a step forward in advocating for reform in the financial sector.
The big 4 banks have all come out this week and made submissions to the upcoming Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. Australia’s top 4 financial institutions each lodged submissions this week, summarising instances of misconduct and delinquency over the past decade. With the public hearings approaching on 12 February 2018, this is the first step, though a substantial one, towards fostering and maintaining transparency from our major banks.
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