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FOS To Handle New Dispute Category


From 1 January 2012, FOS will assume jurisdiction for disputes relating to Traditional Trustee Company Services. A working group of FOS staff has been preparing for these new disputes. 

What are Traditional Trustee Company Services?

Traditional trustee company services (TTCS) include:

  • Estate management functions such as acting as trustee of a trust or as executor or administrator of a deceased estate
  • Preparing a will, trust instrument, power of attorney or an agency arrangement
  • Applying for probate of a will or a grant of letters of administration, or administering a deceased estate
  • Establishing and operating common funds.


A few examples of TTCS disputes

FOS might receive TTCS disputes about, for example:

  • fees and charges, or the level of service, associated with the administration of a deceased estate or a trust
  • the distribution of personal chattels under a will
  • the time taken to apply for probate or administer a deceased estate.


TTCS disputes may involve multiple parties

The most important difference between TTCS and usual FOS disputes, for the FOS dispute process, is that TTCS disputes may involve multiple parties. In addition to co-trustees, the other parties (referred to in the Terms of Reference as ‘Other Affected Parties’) are people whose interests are affected by the decisions of the Trustee, (for example, other beneficiaries under a will) and they may want a different resolution to the applicant.


Multiple parties will be bound by the outcome

Where a dispute affects multiple parties, FOS will deal with the dispute under a separate set of procedures, to ensure all affected parties are treated fairly. To achieve this, the amended Terms of Reference will require an important preliminary step. That is, all parties to the dispute must consent to FOS dealing with the dispute and agree to be bound by the outcome.



Training for relevant staff commenced in early November, with tailored training for, Registration and Dispute Officers, as well as nominated Dispute Analysts, Case Managers and Ombudsmen. (Matters referred for Recommendation or Determination will be dealt with by the ILIS Decisions team.)

Initial training is focussed on areas of law relevant to TTCS disputes on the themes of estate planning, estate management and trusts.


Amendments to the Terms of Reference

Following a consultation period with stakeholders and ASIC, the FOS Board approved the necessary amendments to the Terms of Reference at its meeting on 10 November 2011. Amendments to the Operational Guidelines will explain these changes in more detail. 

The Terms of Reference include a further amendment, to clarify the jurisdiction of FOS to deal with disputes regarding cross-border investments. 

These amendments will take effect from 1 January 2012, and will apply to all disputes that are first lodged with FOS on or after that date.

FOS can only deal with a dispute about a TTCS that is first lodged with FOS after 1 January 2012. It is important that applicants only lodge a relevant dispute after 1 January 2012, otherwise we will not be able to deal with it at all.

For more information about the amendments to the Terms of Reference, see the FOS webpage Amendments to the Current Terms of Reference.