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Explanatory Notes

Disclaimer for All Tables

 

  • The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has taken every care to create a sound basis for presenting the data in the Comparative Tables. The preparation of the Tables was based on business information provided by the relevant FSPs. That information has not been independently verified by FOS. While we have every confidence in the responses provided by our members, we also note that there is some margin for inconsistency in the ways in which our requests have been interpreted, primarily because of differences in the structure of FSPs’ business operations.
     
  • When considering these Tables, please do not rely upon the data as the sole basis for any financial decision-making. Consumers should seek advice before making financial decisions.
     
  • To the extent permitted by law, FOS accepts no liability for any losses arising out of improper use, or release, of this information. 
     

 

1. Business Finance

 


Explanatory Notes
We have not published any “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS” numbers in this table. “Small business” is defined in FOS’s Terms of Reference (and the Corporations Act) as a business that:

 

  1. if the business is or includes the manufacture of goods: had less than 100 employees; or
  2. otherwise: had less than 20 employees.

Lenders record their lending to small businesses using a range of measures, including the size of the turnover of the business. As a result, not all lenders are able to report on the number of small business loans that have been made to businesses that come within the definition of “small business” in our Terms of Reference. We will be working with our members and the Australian Bankers Association to determine whether in future our members can identify how many of their commercial customers are small businesses according to the definition above.
 

2. Consumer Loans


Explanatory Notes
Complaints about debt collectors and buyers may include complaints that ultimately are found to be about the actions of the original credit provider. This means that the “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS” figures for debt collectors and buyers in this table may overstate the chance that a customer of one of these businesses will have a dispute about their debt collection activity.

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For Veda Advantage Information Services & Solutions Ltd (“Veda Advantage”), under “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS”, we have listed the number of disputes in the reporting period. It is not relative to business size. As a credit reporting agency, Veda Advantage receives complaints from members of the public regarding information recorded on their credit file. These entries are reported by various credit providers and Veda Advantage has a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure that information reported is accurate.  Veda Advantage holds approximately 14.6 million credit files for individuals, companies and businesses. In the financial year to 30 June 2010, Veda Advantage distributed 237,000 credit information files and received 26,500 requests for amendments to those files.

 

3. Credit Cards

 


Explanatory Notes
Complaints about debt collectors and buyers may include complaints that ultimately are found to be about the actions of the original credit provider. This means that the “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS” figures for debt collectors and buyers in this table may overstate the chance that a customer of one of these businesses will have a dispute about their debt collection activity.


For Veda Advantage Information Services & Solutions Ltd (“Veda Advantage”), under “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS”, we have listed the number of disputes in the reporting period. It is not relative to business size. As a credit reporting agency, Veda Advantage receives complaints from members of the public regarding information recorded on their credit file. These entries are reported by various credit providers and Veda Advantage has a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure that information reported is accurate.  Veda Advantage holds approximately 14.6 million credit files for individuals, companies and businesses. In the financial year to 30 June 20100, Veda Advantage distributed 237,000 credit information files and received 26,500 requests for amendments to those files.

 

4. Credit Insurance

 


Explanatory Notes
In this table, because there are fewer than five financial services providers (FSPs), we do not show the “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS”. We have taken this approach to maintain fair comparisons, as a market of less than five FSPs for a product group is small.

For all the FSPs in this table, the “Average Length in the Resolution Process” and all the “Outcomes of the Resolution Process” categories are blank. This means that none of the disputes that FOS received for these FSPs in this product group between 1 January 2010 and 30 June 2010 were resolved by 30 June 2010. In other words, all the disputes were still being handled by FOS at the end of the period in question, so we could not say at what stage of the resolution process they were resolved and what the outcomes were. These disputes will be included in the data we use to calculate the “Average Length in the Resolution Process” and “Outcomes of the Resolution Process” figures for FSPs in the Comparative Tables for 2010–2011.

 

5. Deposit Taking/Payment Systems

 


Explanatory Notes
Business Transaction Accounts are included in this product category. FOS members use different definitions for identifying “small business” customers and this may affect their interpretation of the number of accounts they hold and therefore their “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS” figure.

 

7. Extended Warranties

 


Explanatory Notes
In this table, because there are fewer than five financial services providers (FSPs), we do not show the “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS”. We have taken this approach to maintain fair comparisons, as a market of less than five FSPs for a product group is small.

 

10. Housing Finance

 


Explanatory Notes
Complaints about debt collectors and buyers may include complaints that ultimately are found to be about the actions of the original credit provider. This means that the “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS” figures for debt collectors and buyers in this table may overstate the chance that a customer of one of these businesses will have a dispute about their debt collection activity.

 

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RAMS Financial Group Pty Ltd has reported very substantial acquisitions in its home loan account portfolio between:

  • 30 June 2009 – the date for which the business size data for these tables was requested, and
  • 30 June 2010 – the end of the six month period for which FOS used data on dispute numbers.

Because of this unusually high growth in account numbers over the reporting period, the ‘Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS’ has not been reported in this table, instead the number of disputes is identified.

 

11. Life Insurance

 


Explanatory Notes
Insurance companies sell life insurance policies that cover individuals and other policies that cover groups of people. A group policy could cover dozens of people. The business size of FSPs in this product group was measured according to:

 

  • the numbers of policies for individuals the FSP had in force at 30 June 2009, plus
  • for group policies the FSP had in force at 30 June 2009, the number of people covered (not the number of policies).

Counting the number of people covered rather than the number of policies for group policies gives a more accurate representation of the number of people covered during the whole year – and hence of the number of people who could have brought a dispute to FOS during the year.

 

12. Managed Investments

 


Explanatory Notes
This table may include:

 

  1. FSPs that only provide advice about managed investment products
  2. FSPs that only provide managed investment products, and
  3. FSPs that provide both advice and products.

So that it caters for all three types of FSP, the size of an FSP’s business for this product group is measured in terms of:

  • the number of investor accounts an FSP had in force at 30 June 2009, plus
  • the number of clients under advice at 30 June 2009.

Some of the business size data is based on estimates provided by FSPs where exact numbers could not be provided.


All of the FOS disputes involving MacarthurCook Real Estate Funds Limited were part of a single class action. The MacarthurCook Group was acquired by an unrelated party in July 2009. The disputes at FOS relate to alleged breaches that occurred prior to the acquisition.

 

13. Margin Loans

 

Explanatory Notes
In this table, because there are fewer than five financial services providers (FSPs), we do not show the “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS”. We have taken this approach to maintain fair comparisons, as a market of less than five FSPs for a product group is small.

 

14. Motor Vehicle Insurance

 

Explanatory Notes
Insurance companies sell motor vehicle insurance policies that cover individuals and other policies that cover groups of people – for example, for company fleets. A group policy could cover dozens of people. The business size of FSPs in this product group was measured according to:

  • the numbers of policies for individuals the FSP had in force at 30 June 2009, plus
  • for group policies the FSP had in force at 30 June 2009, the number of vehicles covered (not the number of policies).

Counting the number of vehicles covered rather than the number of policies for group policies gives a more accurate representation of the number of people covered during the whole year – and hence of the number of people who could have brought a dispute to FOS during the year.


Youi Pty Ltd has reported very substantial acquisitions in its motor vehicle insurance portfolio between:

  • 30 June 2009 – the date for which the business size data for these tables was requested, and
  • 30 June 2010 – the end of the six month period for which FOS used data on dispute numbers.

Because of this unusually high growth in policy numbers over the reporting period, the “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS” has not been reported in this table, instead the number of disputes is identified. 
 

 

16. Professional Indemnity Insurance

 


There is no table for this product group because there were no financial services providers for which FOS received three or more disputes between 1 January and 30 June 2010.

 

17. Sickness and Accident Insurance

 

Explanatory Notes
Insurance companies sell sickness and accident insurance policies that cover individuals and other policies that cover groups of people – for example, sports clubs. A group policy could cover dozens of people. The business size of FSPs in this product group was measured according to:

  • the numbers of policies for individuals the FSP had in force at 30 June 2009, plus
  • for group policies the FSP had in force at 30 June 2009, the number of people covered (not the number of policies).

Counting the number of people covered rather than the number of policies for group policies gives a more accurate representation of the number of people covered during the whole year – and hence of the number of people who could have brought a dispute to FOS during the year.


Lloyd’s Australia Limited does sell group sickness and accident insurance policies, but it was unable to ascertain the number of people covered by these group policies. The “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS” figure for Lloyd’s in this table is higher than it would be had the business size data this figure is based on factored in the number of people covered by group policies.

 

18. Small Business/Farm Insurance

 


Explanatory Notes
We have not published any “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS” numbers in this table. “Small business” is defined in FOS’s Terms of Reference (and the Corporations Act) as a business that:

 

  1. if the business is or includes the manufacture of goods: had less than 100 employees; or
  2. otherwise: had less than 20 employees.

While insurers record details of the type of insurance policies they have issued and can extract and report on this data, they do not record details about the class of customer to whom the policy has been issued. As a result, insurers were unable to report on the number of small business insurance policies and farm insurance policies that had been sold to businesses that come within the definition of “small business” in our Terms of Reference. We will be working with our members and the Insurance Council of Australia to determine whether in future our members can identify how many of their commercial customers are small businesses according to the definition above.

 

19. Superannuation

 

Explanatory Notes
This table may include:

  1. FSPs that only provide advice about superannuation
  2. FSPs that only provide superannuation products, and
  3. FSPs that provide both advice and products.

So that it caters for all three types of FSP, the size of an FSP’s business for this product group is measured in terms of:

  • the number of investor accounts an FSP had in force at 30 June 2009, plus
  • the number of clients under advice at 30 June 2009.

Some of the business size data is based on estimates provided by FSPs where exact numbers could not be provided.

 

21. Travel Insurance

 

Explanatory Notes
Insurance companies sell travel insurance policies that cover individuals and other policies that cover groups of people. A group policy could cover dozens of people. The business size of FSPs in this product group was measured according to:

  • the numbers of policies for individuals the FSP had in force at 30 June 2009, plus
  • for group policies the FSP had in force at 30 June 2009, the number of people covered (not the number of policies).

Counting the number of people covered rather than the number of policies for group policies gives a more accurate representation of the number of people covered during the whole year – and hence of the number of people who could have brought a dispute to FOS during the year.

The business size of FSPs in this product group was measured in terms of the number of travel insurance policies an FSP had in force at any time between 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2009. For the other product groups, we measured business size in terms of the number of policies or accounts the FSP had in force at 30 June 2009. We have used the number of policies for a full year, rather than the number at 30 June 2009, for this product group because travel insurance policies generally only last for a few days or weeks. Taking a snapshot at 30 June 2009 or any other date would mean the data would not accurately represent the number of people covered during the whole year and hence the number of people who could have brought a dispute to FOS during the year.

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We have not provided a “Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS” number for Zurich Australian Insurance Limited (“Zurich”). Zurich’s business model is very different to that of the other FSPs in this product group and consequently the size of its business could not be calculated using the method we used for the other FSPs. Zurich’s travel insurance policies are issued to financial institutions, whose card holders are third party beneficiaries. Their number of policies in force is comparatively very low, even though the policies potentially cover millions of people. Zurich does not know who has been covered by the policy issued until such time as they lodge a claim.
 

Before You View the Comparative Tables

 

Before you view the Comparative Tables it is important that you fully read the introduction, explanatory text and disclaimer. This is necessary to correctly understand and interpret what the data in the tables means. By clicking the following link you acknowledge that you have fully read the introduction and explanatory text and that you have read and agree to the disclaimer.
 

View the Comparative Tables 2009–2010