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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 financial services providers (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.

Statistical note for all tables

All the percentages in the ‘Outcomes of the Resolution Process’ columns have been rounded to the nearest whole number. Because of this rounding, the sum of the percentages for a particular financial services provider in a particular table might not be exactly 100%.
 


1. Business Finance table
We have not published any Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS or Number of Disputes numbers in this table. ‘Small business’ is defined in the FOS 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 loans that have been made to businesses that come within the definition of ‘small business’ in our Terms of Reference. We are continuing to work with our members and the Australian Bankers Association to determine a consistent basis for measuring the number of small business loans our members have made.


2. Consumer Loans table
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.


3. Credit Cards table
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.

#  Bank of Queensland and Suncorp-Metway Limited have not provided business size data as these financial services providers are not the credit provider for the credit cards issued under their brands. They do, however, administer the disputes received about their branded credit cards.


5. Deposit Taking/Payment Systems table
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.

#  People’s Choice Credit Union is the trading name for Australian Central Credit Union.

 
7. Extended Warranties table
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 table
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.

#  People’s Choice Credit Union is the trading name for Australian Central Credit Union. It was listed as Australian Central Credit Union in the Housing Finance table in the 2009–2010 Comparative Tables.

 
11. Life Insurance table
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 2010, plus
  • for group policies the FSP had in force at 30 June 2010, 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 table
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.

Because of the difficulty of comparing these different kinds of businesses, we have developed special business size categories for this product group. Here are the categories and the criteria for applying them to financial services providers (FSPs):

Small
FSP has less than 20 representatives (reps)  or less than $100 million funds under management (FUM)

Medium
FSP has 20 to 199 reps or $100 million or more but less than $1 billion FUM

Large
FSP has 200 to 999 reps or $1 billion or more but less than $20 billion FUM

Very large
FSP has 1,000 reps or more or $20 billion FUM or more

If a member has both advisors and funds under management (FUM) then they will go into whichever is the larger of the categories they qualify for. For example, if a member had $2 billion FUM and 1,200 reps they would be described as very large.


13. Margin Loans table
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 table
Insurance companies sell motor vehicle insurance policies that cover both individuals and businesses or groups of people – for example, for company fleets. This table includes disputes about domestic policies for individuals. Accordingly, the business size of financial services providers (FSPs) in this product group was measured according to the number of domestic policies for individuals the FSP had in force at 30 June 2010. Disputes about commercial motor vehicle policies are included in the Small Business / Farm Insurance table.


16. Professional Indemnity Insurance table
There is no table for this product group because there were no financial services providers for which FOS received five or more disputes between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011.


17. Sickness and Accident Insurance table
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 2010, plus
  • for group policies the FSP had in force at 30 June 2010, 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.

# Allianz Australia Insurance Limited and QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited were not able to identify the total number of people covered by their group sickness and accident policies.  Because of this, we have included the actual Number of Disputes for these two FSPs rather than the Chance of a Dispute Coming to FOS.


18. Small Business/Farm Insurance table
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 a consistent basis for measuring the number of small business insurance policies our members have issued.


19. Superannuation table
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.

Because of the difficulty of comparing these different kinds of businesses, we have developed special business size categories for this product group. Here are the categories and the criteria for applying them to financial services providers (FSPs):

Small
FSP has less than 20 representatives (reps)  or less than $100 million funds under management (FUM)

Medium
FSP has 20 to 199 reps or $100 million or more but less than $1 billion FUM

Large
FSP has 200 to 999 reps or $1 billion or more but less than $20 billion FUM

Very large
FSP has 1,000 reps or more or $20 billion FUM or more

If a member has both advisors and funds under management (FUM) then they will go into whichever is the larger of the categories they qualify for. For example, if a member had $2 billion FUM and 1,200 reps they would be described as very large.


20. Timeshare and Strata Title Schemes table
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.


21. Travel Insurance table
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 any time between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011, plus
  • for group policies the FSP had in force at any time between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011, 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 2010 and 30 June 2011. 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 2010. We have used the number of policies for a full year, rather than the number at 30 June 2010, for this product group because travel insurance policies generally only last for a few days or weeks. Taking a snapshot at 30 June 2010 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.

#  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.