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Issue 15 - Spring 2013

Chief Ombudsman's Message

I am pleased to let you know that our Business Plan 2013-2014, our 2012-2013 Annual Review and the 2012-2013 Comparative Tables have all recently been released. Our Business Plan for 2013-2014 builds on our achievements last year and takes into account the feedback from our sta...READ MORE


The FOS Approach

The FOS Approach to disputes lodged by guarantors

We publish the FOS Approach to help make it as easy as possible for everyone to understand how we consider disputes about particular issues. This includes the different elements we will consider and the relevant Codes, legal principles, obligations and industry best practice th...READ MORE


FOS Forum

Key Determinations

In August 2013 we issued a Determination regarding an insurance claim under a personal accident and sickness policy. Of interest was the application of the phrase 'accident' to the facts of this dispute. The insured person had died, and the applicant was acting on behalf of the...READ MORE

Maladministration and low doc loans

Our Annual Review highlights the increase in disputes we received in 2012-2013 about maladministration in lending - that is, cases where it is said that the financial services provider (FSP) did not exercise the care and skill of a diligent and prudent lender when assessing an ...READ MORE


FOS News

Upcoming events

We organise or attend hundreds of events every year. Over the next few months we will be in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne running various sessions for our members. You can always keep up-to-date with our events by visiting General Insurance Open Forums...READ MORE

Annual Review

On 23 October we released our 2012-2013 Annual Review and Comparative Tables. The figures show that almost half (49%) of all accepted disputes last year were about credit products, with home loans, credit cards and personal loans being the most common type of credit product to ...READ MORE

FOS gets involved in MoneySmart Week

MoneySmart Week is an independent, not-for-profit national educational initiative that promotes the importance of financial literacy and encourages all Australians to take simple steps toward improving their financial wellbeing. The second annual MoneySmart Week was held from 1...READ MORE

Focus on community organisations

More than a third of the disputes that consumer representatives lodged on behalf of consumers in 2012-2013 came from just ten organisations. Legal Aid New South Wales had the highest number, lodging 65 disputes on behalf of their clients. Murwillumbah and Tweed Financial Counse...READ MORE

Changes to the Insurance Contracts Act

On 28 June 2013, Parliament passed the Insurance Contracts Amendment Act 2013. This Act substantively reproduced the amendments that were introduced to Parliament in 2010 but lapsed due to the government elections at the time. Many of the changes are therefore expected. They ar...READ MORE

New industry guidance on financial difficulty disputes

When we consider disputes, we take into account good industry practice and any applicable industry codes and guidance. There have been some recent developments in these areas that we wish to highlight about what is considered good industry practice for financial services provid...READ MORE

Open and transparent decision making at FOS

FOS is committed to being open and transparent about the approach we take when we decide disputes. This commitment reflects the principles of cooperative dispute resolution and transparency which are stated in paragraph 1.2 of our Terms of Reference, which underpin all of our p...READ MORE

Dispute resolution on the global stage

As Leader of Northern Ireland's cross-community Alliance Party, Lord John Alderdice played a significant role in the negotiation of the 1998 Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement which brought Northern Ireland's thirty year 'Troubles' to an end. He has also worked with governments in...READ MORE

An update from the Code team

The Code Compliance and Monitoring team is a separate business unit of FOS. Our purpose is to assist the independent administration and monitoring of compliance with industry Codes of Practice in the financial services sector. We assist in monitoring the Banking Code of Practic...READ MORE

Faster resolutions and reduced backlogs

In our last edition of the Circular, we told you about a pilot project we were beginning in August 2013, called Project 500. The pilot was developed to deal with the large number of credit, deposit-taking and payment system disputes we receive. We have now finished the third mo...READ MORE

Under the spotlight - Nela Lazetic

Treating people with honesty and respect is at the forefront of Nela Lazetic's mind every time she handles a dispute. These values were embedded in Nela, a Dispute Officer, from an early age. "One thing I apply to all disputes is treating the applicant and the financial service...READ MORE

Postcard from... Darwin

The civil law division of the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) is no stranger to FOS, says solicitor Francesca Ciantar. The more we get out to remote communities, the more we are able to help people with their consumer disputes through FOS. We come across issu...READ MORE

Staff from North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency

Systemic Issues

Systemic issues update

This article summarises new systemic issues that we identified during the September quarter of 2013 and reported to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). It also provides an update on some current and recently resolved systemic issue investigations, a sum...READ MORE


Case Studies

Case studies

This is a collection of case studies that have appeared elsewhere in this edition of the Circular. It includes the two case studies from the FOS Approach document that demonstrate the types of guarantor disputes we can consider, and the types of things we take into account when...READ MORE




We received 8,304 disputes from July - September 2013. This was a slight increase from the previous quarter (up by 1%) but a decrease of 5% from the same quarter last year (September 2012). The reduction in credit, general insurance and payment systems disputes are the main fac...READ MORE