Terms of reference revealed for EDR review

NIBA welcomes the release of Terms of Reference (the terms) for the review of the dispute resolution (EDR) and complaint framework for the financial system. The terms of reference for a review of the external dispute resolution and complaints scheme were revealed by Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer early this week.

The review will examine whether the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) and the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) deliver effective outcomes for consumers, having regard to efficiency, equity, complexity, transparency, accountability, transparency, comparability of outcomes and regulatory costs.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring the three bodies are working effectively to meet the needs of users,” Minister O’Dwyer said. “This review builds on the Government’s response to the Financial System Inquiry which sets out a suite of policies to improve Australia’s financial system.”

The review panel will be chaired by legal expert Professor Ian Ramsay, who will make recommendations on:

  • the role, powers, governance and funding arrangements of the framework in providing an effective complaints handling process
  • the extent of gaps and overlaps between the bodies
  • the role of the bodies in working with various stakeholders to improve the legal and regulatory framework
  • the relative merits of different models in providing effective avenues for resolving disputes.

FOS chief ombudsman Shane Tregillis said reducing complexity for consumers has the strong support of FOS. The FOS noted it has significantly reduced the time to taken to resolve dispute under its new process and have accepted all open disputes since 30 June 2015.

But Mr Tregillis noted that the panel should also make some observations on the lack of a compensation scheme of last resort for consumers. “It is essential for the effective operation of external dispute resolution that consumers who get an award of compensation by FOS can be confident that this compensation will be paid,” he said.

The review will be inviting submissions from the public and consult with various stakeholders, including industry. The final report is expected to be delivered to the government by the end of March 2017.

NIBA will be consulting with members and intend to make a submission to the review. Any members who wish to comment on the review, please direct them to CEO Dallas Booth at dbooth@niba.com.au.