The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released its draft updated regulatory guide 139 (RG 139) Oversight of AFCA for public consultation. The Australian Financial Complains Authority (AFCA) was established on 14 February, after the Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Consumers First – Establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) Bill passed both houses of Parliament.
The regulator is seeking stakeholder feedback concerning:
• The reporting requirements that apply to AFCA — that is, time in which reports should be made to ASIC
• The role of the independent assessor
• External dispute resolution (EDR) disclosure obligations
ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said that ASIC is issuing draft updated RG 139 now as they believe that clarity about its policy approach at this stage of the transition will assist all stakeholders.
“It will also enable ASIC to take into account and respond to any emerging issues that arise during the transition period,” the deputy chair said.
The regulator has also noted the previous public consultation reforms undertaken through the review of the financial system external dispute resolution and complaints framework led by Professor Ian Ramsay, and the release of a Treasury consultation paper on the establishment of AFCA in November 2017.
“Updated RG 139 retains many long-standing policy settings that were considered by the Ramsay Review and endorsed by the government, including the handling of systemic issues and periodic independent scheme reviews,” Mr Kell added.
“It also aligns with the new legislative requirements in the AFCA Act.”
Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer welcomed the release of the draft update and encouraged stakeholders to get involved in the process.
“ASIC’s draft guidance is another important step in establishing AFCA — a new one-stop shop for external dispute resolution in the Australian financial system,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
“We are putting the governance processes in place so AFCA is ready to start receiving consumer and small business disputes no later than 1 November 2018.
“The draft regulatory guidance sets out ASIC’s approach and I encourage all stakeholders to be involved in this important consultation process.”
Stakeholders have been invited to respond to ASIC’s consultation by 6 April 2018.