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New Workflow Assessment Process


Our Early Resolution Team, which handles disputes in the early stages of our dispute resolution process, will soon be implementing a new Workflow Assessment Process. This is a key initiative for improving organisational efficiency and reducing dispute resolution timeframes.

The Workflow Assessment Process will ensure that:

  • disputes are promptly directed to the most suitable FOS team for resolution
  • the most effective dispute resolution methods are used for each dispute.

The Workflow Assessment Process will be used for disputes that remain unresolved after they have been through internal dispute resolution and after the financial services provider (FSP) has provided their initial response about the dispute to us.

Under the new process:

  • Certain types of disputes may be referred directly for decision. We will not first try to resolve these disputes using negotiation, conciliation or assessment. We may, however, exercise discretion to still progress some of these disputes through negotiation, conciliation or assessment first, where it appears clear that the matter may be resolved by agreement.
  • For financial difficulty disputes, certain types of disputes may be referred directly to conciliation.
  • Disputes that are considered suitable for negotiation, conciliation or assessment will be reviewed to establish their level of complexity. This will enable us to more effectively match dispute profiles with caseworkers’ levels of experience and skill sets.

The types of disputes that may be referred directly for decision (or conciliation for financial difficulty disputes) are set out in the table below. In our experience, detailed investigation and a formal decision (or conciliation for financial difficulty disputes) are normally the most effective means of achieving a resolution for these types of disputes. By referring these disputes earlier in the process, we expect that dispute resolution timeframes will be reduced and disputes will be handled more efficiently and effectively. The FSP and the applicant will be advised if a dispute is being referred directly to decision (or conciliation for financial difficulty disputes).

Workflow assessments will be overseen by our Workflow Team. Any queries about the new process may be directed to Michael Ridgway, General Manager, Early Resolutions:

Disputes suitable for direct referral to decision (or conciliation for financial difficulty disputes)


Dispute Types

Banking and Finance and Financial Difficulty

  • EFT or unauthorised withdrawal disputes with claims greater than $10,000

  • Allegations of forgery with claims greater than $10,000

  • Disputed liability under a guarantee

  • Clearout listings on consumer credit files

  • Claims of maladministration in lending for secured debts relating to home loans, reverse mortgages and business lending (lodged by borrower or guarantor) where the Applicant claims:

    • they did not understand the agreement or were misled in relation to the lending

    • they could not afford the credit facility

    • they did not receive the benefit of the funds lent, or

    • the credit facility was unsuitable at the time of lending (where the Responsible Lending provisions of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act apply)

  • Claims of misconduct by FSP as mortgagee in possession

  • Retrospective claims for financial difficulty in relation to secured loans where there are no current arrears

  • Disputes where the applicant is experiencing financial difficulty, accepts liability for the debt and there are:

    • significant arrears (over $100,000) on a secured facility, and the parties’ proposals for repayment  are vastly different

    • cross-securitised multiple facilities with significant outstanding balances (over $1 million), or

    • secured debts where there are also Family Court proceedings, bankruptcy or company liquidation

General Insurance

  • Medical indemnity
  • Driving under the influence
  • Fraud

Investments, Life Insurance and Superannuation

  • Financial planning and investment/stockbroking disputes with multiple claims totalling more than $300,000
  • Financial planning advice disputes involving more than one FSP who denies liability for the claim