|In the twelve months to 30 June 2009, the Investments, Life Insurance & Superannuation group received a 77% increase in disputes. A significant number of these are likely to require Panel or Adjudicator determination. This level of disputes is continuing in the second half of 2009. We anticipate a further 50% increase in the referral of matters for a decision by a Panel or Adjudicator in the 12 months from 1 July 2009. To date, the bulk of the increased dispute numbers has been in financial planning disputes. |
Disputes that we receive after 1 January 2010 will be handled in accordance with the new Financial Ombudsman Service Terms of Reference which is currently with ASIC for approval.
In the interim, while recruiting and training additional case workers, the Investments, Life Insurance & Superannuation group has been reviewing its dispute-handling processes and procedures to identify more efficient ways of bringing disputes to an earlier resolution, without compromising the integrity of our processes, particularly our obligation to provide procedural fairness to the parties.
Some of the strategies adopted to manage the very significant increase in workload are:
directly with consumers;
Practice Note 2 has been revised to reflect the change of approach to disputes handling (see article below).
Revised Practice Note 2: Dispute Handling Processes
Investments, Life Insurance & Superannuation Practice Note No 2 PN2 Dispute Handling Processes and Information Exchange has been revised to reflect the intended approach to handling the very significant increase in dispute numbers. (Please note that Practice Note 2 was previously entitled Practice Note 2 PN2 Information Exchange and Case Summaries.)
Disputes received before 1 January 2010
The revised procedures discussed in Practice Note 2 apply to all disputes received by the Investments, Life Insurance & Superannuation group before 1 January 2010. We will continue to handle those disputes in accordance with the current Investments, Life Insurance & Superannuation Terms of Reference and Practice Note 2 until those disputes are concluded, by either settlement or determination, even after 1 January 2010.
Disputes received after 1 January 2010
All disputes received after 1 January 2010 will be handled in accordance with the Financial Ombudsman Service Terms of Reference, as approved by ASIC.
At present, we are consulting with stakeholders regarding Operational Guidelines for the Terms of Reference. The
processes and procedures that will be used to handle all disputes lodged after 1 January 2010 will be in accordance with the Financial Ombudsman Service Terms of Reference and its Operational Guidelines.
So for a period, the Investments, Life Insurance & Superannuation group will be handling disputes under two different Terms of References and processes, with pre-1 January disputes handled under the current Investments, Life Insurance & Superannuation Terms of Reference and Practice Note 2, and all new disputes handled under the processes and procedures which are to be developed in accordance with the Financial Ombudsman Service Terms of Reference and its Operational Guidelines.
If you have any queries regarding the revision to our current processes, please contact the case manager who is currently handling your file, or: