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Issue 30 - July 2017

Chief Ombudsman's Message

Welcome to the first edition of The FOS Circular for the 2017/18 financial year.

The Government is consulting on a range of issues relating to the legislation and regulations for the proposed Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). FOS has contributed to this process and we await the Government’s formal response. However, the main focus at FOS remains very much on resolving disputes efficiently and effectively, and identifying ways in which we can further improve and enhance the dispute service we provide consumers and financial service providers.

In Issue 28 of The FOS Circular (published in February 2017) we explained that FOS is conducting a two-stage consultation with members to benchmark good practice in relation to how industry is engaging with consumers who are experiencing family violence. The family violence surveys were sent out to about 170 of our banking and insurance members on 20 June 2017, with responses due by 11 July. We believe that a collaborative approach to the challenge of family violence is important. For this reason we will be sharing the results of the survey with our members once we have collated and analysed the results, in order to help industry identify good practice and share approaches and learnings.

In the last edition we provided a reminder that our 1300 number will soon be phased out and that members need to ensure they are including the 1800 FOS AUS number in their Financial Services Guide or Credit Guide to comply with ASIC Regulatory Guide 165. Please be aware that until 30 September 2017 all calls from the 1300 number will continue to be redirected. After this date the redirection will stop and a pre-recorded message will advise callers of the 1800 FOS AUS number. Callers will then be required to dial 1800 367 287. From 31 December 2017 the old 1300 number will be disconnected completely. 

In this edition we provide an update on our Live Chat pilot, which has so far been a big success. We also take a look at the new Life Insurance Code of Practice, which came into effect on 1 July 2017. You can find out more about our upcoming member events, which are continuing in various locations around the country over the next few months.

Emails were sent to members in mid-June advising them that renewal Invoices are available to download from Secure Services. As long as this invoice is paid by 31 July 2017 your membership will remain effective. Membership certificates are available for downloading within one business day of payment being received.

We have also published two key determinations, one on misleading conduct and one relating to foreign exchange trading, which I hope you will find useful if faced with disputes relating to these topics.

This edition also features updates on unpaid FOS determinations, systemic issues and Code Compliance and Monitoring, plus we continue our spotlight on the FOS Adjudicators having profiled half the team in the last edition.

FOS received 10,115 disputes in the April to June 2017 quarter. This is consistent with last quarter and an 8% increase compared with the June quarter last year. We saw this increase across all product lines. This quarter, we accepted 5,607 disputes. This is a 2% increase compared with last quarter and consistent with the same quarter last year.

We closed 10,496 disputes this quarter. This is a 7% increase compared with last quarter and a 20% increase compared with the same quarter last year. This is the highest number of disputes closed in a quarter in the past two years.

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

Shane Tregillis
Chief Ombudsman