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Issue 22 - July 2015

Chief Ombudsman's Message

 

Welcome to the first edition of The FOS Circular since we implemented our new dispute resolution process on 1 July 2015.

As I’m sure you can imagine, we have lots of news to share and I am pleased to report that the transition to our new process was a smooth one. I would like to thank our members, industry associations, consumer advocates and others, all of who have all helped us to develop an improved dispute process with their input and feedback.

We are also very pleased to announce that as of 15 June 2015 FOS eliminated the dispute backlog at all stages of our dispute process. This means that there are no disputes that have been unallocated for more than seven days at any stage of the FOS dispute process - a significant achievement, and one which meant we were well placed to transition to the new dispute process on 1 July 2015.

Our 2015-2016 Business Plan has now been published and is available for viewing online at www.fos.org.au. The Business Plan provides a snapshot of how we delivered against last year’s Plan, and outlines our priorities for the coming year. I am pleased to report that we delivered strongly on all of our 2014-15 priorities. Significant achievements included eliminating our backlog, streamlining our dispute process and improving the quality of user experience for both applicants and FSPs. In 2015-16, we will maintain our focus on delivering an efficient and effective dispute resolution service, enhancing our stakeholder engagement and continuing to develop our organisational capabilities and infrastructure.

Some of you may have noticed a slight change to our name, with the addition of ‘Australia’ and the introduction of a new 1800 number for service users as part of our commitment to increasing the accessibility of FOS. As part of that commitment we have recently updated all of our brochures, to meet a higher standard of accessibility and I encourage you to view these on our website. Members need not take any action in response to these changes.

With accountants who wish to continue providing advice on SMSFs beyond 1 July 2016 considering their licensing options, we thought it timely in this edition of The FOS Circular to refresh our top ten tips for financial advice, for their consideration, and that of other FSPs who provide personal advice to retail clients.

You can also learn more about the Code Compliance and Monitoring Team and what their function is and read about Dr June Smith’s appointment as a Lead Ombudsman (Investments and Advice).

We have also published two FOS Approach documents, which explain how we deal with non-financial loss claims and the award of interest.

Our latest statistics report shows that we received 7,720 disputes between April and June 2015. This was a slight decrease (7%) from the previous quarter and a 4% decrease from the same quarter last year. Also included in this edition of The FOS Circular is an update on unpaid FOS determinations and Systemic Issues update.

If you have comments or suggestions about anything you read in The FOS Circular, we would be pleased to hear from you. Please let us know at publications@fos.org.au


Shane Tregillis

Chief Ombudsman

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