Bad funds to be named and shamed

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has approved changes that will allow the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) to name and shame financial firms in its published determinations.

An ASIC statement said that naming the firms would help identify conduct or market problems within organisations, specific products or services.

In AFCA’s first six months of operation, it received 35,263 complaints.

While the publication of determinations has been a longstanding feature of the external dispute resolution schemes in Australia, the names of firms involved in financial services, superannuation and credit complaints have not been published to date.

People who make a complaint against a financial firm will continue to remain anonymous under the rule changes.

ASIC explained that the rule changes would also highlight where financial firms had done the right things.

“It will also enhance transparency and accountability of firms’ performance in complaints handling and of AFCA’s own decision-making,” the ASIC statement explained.

AFCA will shortly be issuing updated operational guidelines that set out examples of the circumstances in which a determination naming a financial firm would not be published. This includes where naming may expose confidential information about a firm’s systems or policies. 

Naming firms in AFCA determinations is part of a broader set of reforms aimed at increasing transparency in financial services. This includes parliament giving ASIC the power to collect and publish internal dispute resolution data.

Do you agree that financial firms and super funds should be named and shamed in AFCA determinations? Do you think this will encourage better behaviour by banks?

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Written by Ben

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