Codes of Practice
Codes of practice set standards of good industry practice for financial services providers when dealing with people who are, or who may become, individual or small business customers in areas relating to:
- service provision
- standards of professional conduct
- practice standards, and
- ethical behaviour.
The Code Compliance and Monitoring team (Code Team) is a separately operated and funded business unit of the Financial Ombudsman Service. We support independent Committees to monitor compliance with codes of practice in the Australian financial services industry to achieve service standards people can trust.
Our aim is to support financial services providers to:
- strengthen relationships with their customers
- improve complaints handling, and
- reduce the number of customer disputes through improved service delivery.
We administer the:
- Code of Banking Practice,
- General Insurance Code of Practice,
- Insurance Brokers Code of Practice,
- Customer Owned Banking Code of Practice, and
- Life Insurance Code of Practice.
Download our Code of Practice Toolkit flyer for a summary of the key obligations covered by these codes.
More than 600 financial services providers voluntarily subscribe to one of the five codes we administer. Most of these organisations are also FOS members.
To find out if your financial services provider subscribes to one of these codes, check the code subscriber registers for the life insurance, general insurance, banking or customer owned banking industries.
For a list of insurance brokers who subscribe to the Insurance Brokers Code of Practice (as at 30 June 2014), see Appendix A in the Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee 2013–14 Annual Report.
All five codes are monitored by independent Code Compliance Committees. On behalf of these Committees we:
- conduct code monitoring activities
- investigate alleged code breaches, and
- share experiences of good industry practice.
Each code sets out individual rights for consumers, including to lodge a complaint that a financial services provider may not have met their obligations under their industry’s code.
Investigating these type of concerns helps us to monitor financial services providers’ compliance, and support them to remedy breaches of the code.
We do not:
- provide compensation to consumers – decisions awarding compensation are not made by the Code Compliance Committees or the Code Team, but can be made by bodies such as the Financial Ombudsman Service (via its dispute resolution process), courts and tribunals; or
- issue fines or penalties – that is the role of regulators such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
We offer training for financial services providers and consumer representatives on the role and function of Code Compliance Committees, including how they monitor and investigate code breaches. Contact us for details.
The Code Team’s role is to ensure financial services providers comply with their industry’s code of practice. We do not provide compensation. If you are seeking compensation, talk to your financial services provider or lodge a dispute with the Financial Ombudsman Service.
If you believe a financial services provider may have breached one of the codes of practice we administer, you can report your concern to the Code Team.
Before contacting us, please check your financial services provider is a code subscriber by consulting registers for the life insurance, general insurance, banking or customer owned banking industries. For a full list of insurance brokers who subscribe to the Insurance Brokers Code of Practice (as at 30 June 2014), see Appendix A in the Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee 2013–14 Annual Report.