The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has publicly listed 231 financial firms potentially in breach of their licensing obligations by failing to declare their membership of the new dispute resolution scheme.
AFCA said it was working closing with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and said the regulator would be taking appropriate action against the firms, which were likely to be in breach of their legal obligations under their financial services or credit licences.
AFCA chief executive and chief ombudsman, David Locke, said the body had been working with ASIC to contact the firms about their requirement to take out AFCA membership since August, but despite several communications, the firms had failed to act.
“AFCA is the new one-stop-shop for external dispute resolution of financial complaints, and membership of AFCA is central to ensuring there is public trust in the financial services industry,” said Locke.
Locke said AFCA was unable to deal with complaints from consumers and small businesses about financial firm if the firm wasn’t an AFCA member, so registration of membership was critical to protecting this sector.