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The SMSF advice landscape is changing – the time to act is now
Whether you plan to apply for a limited Australian Financial Services License (AFSL), become an authorised representative, or refer clients elsewhere, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) Australia can add value to your business.

If you plan to, or currently, hold a limited or full AFSL, you will need to be a member of an ASIC-approved external dispute resolution scheme like FOS.

Build resilience and reduce the risks associated with your business – join FOS.

Become a member today and pay NO application or membership fees until 1 July 2017.

Apply for membership

Why choose FOS?
  • No application fee if you join before 1 July 2017 (save $165).
  • No annual membership fees until 1 July 2017 (save up to $500).

If you hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) or limited licence you must be a member of an External Dispute Resolution scheme. While you have a choice, there are distinct benefits of joining FOS. The benefits go far beyond our offer to accountants of free membership and waived joining fees.

Value for Money
We are the only EDR scheme with multiple Ombudsmen who have a deep knowledge in investments, life insurance, superannuation and advice. Even if you never have a dispute lodged with FOS, and over 85% of our members don’t, you can still benefit from having access to our considerable resources, attending our member forums, and having opportunities to meet our Ombudsmen directly.

Good for business, reputation and the profession
At FOS we provide independent, impartial, fair and timely dispute resolution. If a complaint can’t be resolved directly between you and your client, resolving it through an independent scheme like FOS can help to restore your relationship with your client- and avoid lengthy and expensive court action. Membership of FOS makes good business sense.

Experience and expertise
With over 20 years of experience, and highly specialised staff in superannuation, investments and advice, FOS has the best approach and expertise to help resolve disputes when they occur, and advise on how to prevent them.

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Fees and charges

Accountants joining from now until June 2017
Organisations that hold or are intending to hold a limited AFS Licence (as per ASIC Information Sheet 179) will be eligible for special fee arrangements:

  • Free FOS membership until 30 June 2017.
  • The $165 application fee will be waived.
  • Case fees for disputes handled by FOS in accordance with our Terms of Reference (approximately 80% of our members did not pay case fees in the last financial year as they did not have disputes brought to FOS, and a further 9% only paid a Registration and Referral fee which is our least expensive dispute fee).

For financial year 2017-2018 onwards, the following standard fees and charges will apply to all FOS FSP members:

  • A variable base levy, currently from $335 and above, depending on the size of your business, adjusted annually for CPI. A calculator is available as a guide for estimating what your base levy may be based on the 2015-2016 base levy.
  • A user charge, depending on the number of disputes lodged against you (approximately 95% of our members did not pay a user charge in the last financial year).
  • Case fees for disputes handled by FOS in accordance with our Terms of Reference.

In March, FOS launched inaugural Accountant Member Forums in Sydney and Melbourne.

The forums brought together those involved in the industry to share insights on common and emerging issues in SMSF advice and tips on how to avoid disputes reaching FOS by developing effective internal dispute resolution (IDR) strategies.

FOS plans to run more sessions like this throughout Australia in 2016. View upcoming FOS events and subscribe for alerts via our Events Calendar.

Our fantastic working relationship with accountant industry bodies provides us opportunities for interaction with accountants at a range of events, which in turn delivered valuable feedback that has assisted us in the development of a range of training and educational services to raise awareness about your licensing obligations.

In 2015, FOS took part in the following events:

  • Responsible Manager MasterClass - Sydney (2 September)
  • Ready, Set, 2016 - Licensing Workshop for Accountants - Sydney (2 September)
  • Ready, Set, 2016 - Licensing Workshop for Accountants - Melbourne
    (3 September)
  • Chartered Accountants National SMSF Conference 2015 - Gold Coast
    (14-15 September)
  • SMSF Adviser Technical Strategy Day - Melbourne (10 November)
  • SMSF Adviser Technical Strategy Day - Brisbane (11 November)
  • SMSF Adviser Technical Strategy Day - Sydney (12 November)
  • Institute of Public Accountants National Congress 2015 - Gold Coast
    (19-21 November)