NAB clings to financial complaints board

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From November, Australians with gripes about their superannuation funds and other financial institutions will have their complaints heard by a new authority in what industry insiders hail as a move towards greater transparency.

This week, Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer announced that the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), mooted in last year’s Federal Budget, would go live on 1 November.

Until 31 October, complaints will be heard by the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT).

The highly anticipated ‘one-stop shop’ dispute resolution body will have 10 directors, half of whom will be industry representatives and the other five, consumer directors. It will be chaired by former Howard cabinet minister Helen Coonan.

Ms O’Dwyer this week announced the four individuals she has nominated to join the AFCA board. They are financial planner Claire Mackay, lawyers Andrew Fairley and Alan Wein, and consumer advocate Erin Turner.

Remaining members of the AFCA board are Financial Counselling Australia chair Carmel Franklin, Financial Ombudsman Scheme (FOS) directors Robert Belleville, Elissa Freeman, Catriona Lowe and Johanna Turner, and National Australia Bank (NAB) general counsel for corporate governance Jennifer Darbyshire.

Complaints already lodged with the SCT will not be transferred to AFCA from November. Similarly, any complaints withdrawn from the SCT will not be allowed to be relodged with the new authority.

AFCA will replace two existing schemes – FOS and the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO), in addition to the SCT.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) yesterday welcomed the green light for one umbrella organisation to oversee complaints on financial matters.

“AFCA will be able to deal with complaints about financial firms including banks, credit providers, insurance companies and brokers, financial advisers, managed investment schemes and superannuation trustees,” ASIC said in a statement.

“It will operate significantly higher monetary and compensation limits for consumer and small business complainants, as well as provide enhanced access to free dispute resolution for primary producers.

“ASIC will oversee the operation of AFCA and receive reports including about systemic issues and serious contraventions by financial firms.”

Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC) chief executive Gerard Brody told YourLifeChoices that bringing all complaints of a similar financial nature under the one tribunal was long overdue.

“Previously, a financial institution could be a member of one or the other complaints body,” Mr Brody said.

“In order to retain membership numbers, the bodies would essentially do the bidding of their members when hearing complaints. There really was no incentive to do otherwise.

“With AFCA, there will be no competing body. All the tribunals and the super ombudsman come under the one wing, removing the fear that if it brings down an adverse decision, the member institution will not be able to walk away to join another adjudicator.”

Mr Brody also hailed the increase in the threshold for maximum fines where institutions were found to have breached regulations.

Awards will include compensation of up to $500,000 and the reduction or waiving of debt, according to Choice magazine.

“It will also have enforcement powers to, for instance, make sure an insurance company pays out a policy claim.”

In the six months before it starts to hear disputes, AFCA will consult publicly on new rules and a funding model. The AFCA rules will need to be approved by ASIC.

Opinion: Why is NAB on financial complaints watchdog?

Those who agreed to sign on to the panel that will run the new Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) may be wondering if they have bitten off more than they can chew.

Possibly, when they were first approached to sit on the AFCA board, the worst of the revelations arising from the royal commission had not yet surfaced. Today, these panellists will have more than just an inkling of the load that lies ahead.

News of financial institutions with superannuation funds ripping clients off by charging fees for no service and even collecting fees from deceased estates, and so on, will likely have many Australians going through the fine print of their own policies to see if they, too, have been incorrectly charged.

Consumer Action Law Centre chief executive Gerard Brody certainly recommends it.

He says people need to ask their financial institutions what fees they have been charged and what they were for. Clients and members should be receiving regular statements from their funds listing the fees.

Those fees can be for administration, investment, performance, advice or life insurance.

Meanwhile, the choice of some of the directors to sit on the AFCA board could raise eyebrows in the wake of the banking royal commission’s damning evidence about misconduct in the financial services sector, especially by the banks.

National Australia Bank (NAB) general counsel for corporate and governance Jennifer Darbyshire is one of the directors.

NAB’s dirty linen was not on display at the inquiry to the same extent that the other members of the Big Four banks and AMP was. But it was berated at the commission for “failing to report fraudulent bankers to the corporate regulator”.

Also, late last year, ASIC entered into enforceable undertakings with NAB over what the Federal Court had declared was a failure of the bank “to do all things necessary to ensure that they provided financial services honestly and fairly’’. That was in November.

The following month, NAB said it had refunded $1.7 million to 966 home loan customers after it failed to properly set up mortgage offset accounts.

Given that each of these incidents falls under the purview of governance, should it be asked why the person responsible for corporate ethics at the bank, Ms Darbyshire, is on the board that will sit in judgement on complaints about financial institutions?

Who would you have appointed to the board of the new financial services complaints board? Will you be going through your super statements and other financial documents to see if you have been overcharged?

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Written by Olga Galacho

35 Comments

Total Comments: 35
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    Looks like many of those members assigned to the board will end up being a case of putting the foxes in charge of the hen house !!

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      Spot on. Crooks working for crooks never succeeds in anything else but a blind (defiant) eye. This time will be no different but that’s what happens when a society allows big business to control the game.

      The day electoral donations of all manner are banned will see a change. Not happening anytime soon from what I can see though.

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      Yep, we may need a Tribunal to oversee the Tribunal. Or maybe start holding people who serve on Boards ans Tribunals accountable for their decisions and actions. Maybe a mandatory gaol sentence for blatant biased decisions that go against the public interest.
      I think all such organisations should be subject to spot independent auditing, and all such activity should be fully disclosed.

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      It’s difficult to separate this Govt from big business, hence they think nothing of appointing a NAB person to the authority to oversee complaints against Banks, and an ex-Liberal Minister to chair the whole puppet show! Kelly O’Dwyer herself should have nothing to do with selecting members on this board! The whole thing stinks!!!

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    Macron reckons Lucy is “delicious”. He could make millions starring for SPECSAVERS in their future ads.

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    So that they know exactly what is going on, make thing uncomfortable for any who want to speak against what they want and have done and the be able to “Stack the Deck” in their own GREEDY favour!

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    I, too, query the makeup of this group – five industry directors, five consumer directors (unspecified), and a former Liberal hack getting a new gig out of the public purse (just another example of the usual suspects copping it sweet – over and over)in the top spot.

    I also query the title ‘director’ – WTF? Is this just another business venture (yes) for these leeches who’ve already nearly sucked the nation dry?

    Who guards the guard when the guard guards you? And how much time, money and energy will be wasted by these ‘directors’ and their party hack Great Leader chasing the Industry superannuation funds which always have done better than commercial ones?

    Based on the comments of O’Dwyer just last week – PLENTY!

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      I’ll amend that a bit :-

      financial planner Claire Mackay, lawyers Andrew Fairley and Alan Wein, and consumer advocate Erin Turner.

      Remaining members of the AFCA board are Financial Counselling Australia chair Carmel Franklin, Financial Ombudsman Scheme (FOS) directors Robert Belleville, Elissa Freeman, Catriona Lowe and Johanna Turner, and National Australia Bank (NAB) general counsel for corporate governance Jennifer Darbyshire.

      Claire Mackay -independent financial advisor, Qantum Financial
      financial planner. Appears kosher.

      https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/cheating-rife-in-financial-planning-20140815-104gkn.html

      Andrew Fairley, lawyer – scion of a business family – I’ll await judgement.

      Alan Wein , lawyer – mediator, associate professor, former instigator of a franchise….. again I’ll suspend judgement awaiting results.

      Erin Turner – consumer advocate …. seems to hold a few jobs – again I’ll wait on results (always remember in 1984 that the Ministry Of Fair Play ensure unfair play)…

      Well – that’s only four ‘independents’… let me keep going.

      Let’s not look at the in-house financial advisor types – they’ve already been lambasted above over lack of genuine qualifications and standards etc – and direct transfers from the existing body in that linked article above. They need to be evaluated on their past performance in this arena already.

      The question is – can we afford to await results to judge, and if found wanting, how do we get rid of them?

      Second question is – what is their length of tenure etc?

      Sounds more like just another jobs for the mates scheme to me.

      We need some genuine independents from outside the closed shop.

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      Let me summarise :- Four ‘outsiders’ mostly with links to business and totally secured retirement packaging from mutliple sources – and six insiders ….plus one Usual Suspect party hack to draw the big dollars for heading the weekly meeting.

      Doesn’t sound too appealing to me…. independent my little Portuguese Bippy….

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      So your nose is out of joint because you didn’t get the call up?

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      good info from Trebor. so what is KSS’s problem ?

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      I’m an impartial advisor here….. but it seems to me that more representation and even majority representation should come from superannuant and such groups, rather than from a tame in-house group.

      Don’t mind KSS – he’s part of the furniture.. let’s await heemie with his personal vitriol and suggestions that I have tickets on myself…. as I said – I’m just a fair and impartial observer here, and I see what I see.

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      “Impartial advisor” !??!

      “Fair and impartial observer”!??!

      I don’t think so. Opinionated contributor is all. Like most of us.

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      Oh, I don’t know about that – I at least provided some links and then some interpretations of my own – you are always welcome to offer a different view on the links – but this personal nonsense – leave it to the idiots non-savant like heemie. He’ll be along shortly to set me right again…

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      Steady on KSS; “Opinionated contributor” – he of the …”as I said”, to which I’d say – yes, too much and far too often, thereby making it harder for everyone else to get to see what others might might like us to see. It’s becoming increasingly harder to wade thru comment of the “fair and impartial observer” indulging his vanity by brow beating us to “see what (he) see(s)”.

      “There’s none so blind as those that cannot see”.

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      Bit harsh, Bob. It seems that you have found only one “party hack” which all things considered isn’t too bad. Labor set up some tribunals, boards and commissions and they were full of “party hacks” and union officials but we didn’t hear any comments about that.

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      Steady on, MD – it would better behove you to actually look through the information rather than doing the other kid’s thing of going after the poster. Leave that nonsense to retreads like heemie…. he can outdo you in nonsense commentary any day!

      Hmm.. perhaps, OM – I do respect your views and courtesy – but I counted four ‘independents’, two at least from a business background – and six financial sector ‘directors’ + one party hack to keep business going as usual. That’s really an 8:2 majority for the financial sector.

      Sort of seems to me that the 50/50 independents and industry is a bit out of whack, and that others from real interest groups, such as SFRs and pensioners with maybe bit of super should be involved, perhaps on an election basis. A more balanced approach seems to me to be in order – and I am well aware that the ability to deal with facts etc on the part of many such ‘outsiders’ is as good as, at least, as that of these ‘directors’.

      Having it dealt with by people with an already massive retirement package gathered is hardly doing anything more than allowing control by the rich – again – and we know where that leads… they have nothing to lose, and there is nothing like standing on the edge of the precipice to clarify one’s thoughts.

      Fat Cat Blindness is not the answer.

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      Oh… MD .. if you’re feeling browbeaten – I can refer you to a good psychiatrist to help with those paranoid tendencies……

      Perhaps if you could fight your corner better……….. and had some strength to your ideals and experience……. you wouldn’t feel challenged by any opposing or differing view……

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      Hah! Strength is but a meatheads backdrop.
      Comment of itself is not a qualifier and furthermore sheer volume does not an intellect make – as evinced from “your corner”. There is no “fight” – period.
      To set oneself up on a pedestal and expound pedagogy merely invites attention to oneself, sooner or later someone will come along and tip the perpetrator off his perch.

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      That’s because, my dear fellow, there is a clear dividing line between factual data and mypersonal views as expressed.

      As I said – it is always open to you to put another point of view based on the information, or provide more information.

      do try to make sense of the issues, my dear man…. you are showing yourself to be churlish and a fop trying to sidetrack discussion into personalities….. keep up in class…

      Looking around, that perch is still pretty solid…. what about you – got a genuine view that does not involve personal attack?

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      If you’ve missed the genuine view – mine or anyone elses – then it’s as a result of being so self absorbed in your own haste to add to your already extensive blather. A few facts or figures thrown in for good measure do not make you a specialist.
      “churlish…fop” and you’re accusing me of personal attack.
      You may consider yourself “in class” I’d suggest a class of your own whilst the remainder of us meanwhile have graduated to the big wide.

      Looks can very often be deceiving, “that perch” might well be riddled with white ants.

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      And yet you continue with the same old personal nonsense, and fail to address the issues….

      I never said I was a ‘specialist’ – that is your own inferiority complex speaking – I merely threw in some details and figures and facts – and you instantly tried to cover those up….. all the aspects of some silly plant.

      Thanks for coming……. loser.

      Interesting that you are the only one carrying on in this….. churlish fashion… where are all your able supporters? Oh – I know – they’re the ‘silent majority’…. funny thing is that even your first post said pretty much what I was saying – but you have become embroiled in your personal bitter ego contest with me for pointing out a few things and offering a few views.

      You are welcome to discuss the views – but you obviously are incapable of doing so without resorting to ad hominem.

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    Just to add to the mix:-

    https://www.fos.org.au/about-us/independent-reviews/

    I’d like to view some independent and consumer reviews of the process to date…

    Plenty of interesting information on a search of : Financial Ombudsman Service Australia reviews – no consumer reviews that I can see – and gotta go – busy.

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      You see – unlike some Robin Hoods – I do speak with a research accent and at least provide some information for consideration…

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    It matters little who is appointed to any new fandangled body. It’s just another instance of being seen to do something – anything, regardless of consequence or substance to the latest iteration of some body with oversight, the fact yet remains that some downright heinous crimes have been perpetrated by an insignificant few on many innocent people. Thus far nobody, but nobody has suffered a directed penalty. Oh we all know a select few have either self nominated (or surreptitiously been pushed) to fall on their sword, poor bastards, surely we should feel sorry for them. That these martyr’s get to retain their privy little sinecures and entitlements might strike most their innocent customer/clients (read suckers) as a downright travesty.

    That the said crimes were committed under the watchful (dreamy) oversight of an existing govt appointed body leaves little room for confidence in another pick from the same litter.
    So how or why are any new appointees going to correct the situation.
    Can we expect them to have teeth with which to bite the hand that feeds them or will it be yet another case of jobs for the boys – with a few girls to satisfy political correctness.

  7. 0
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    Letting any of the banks near regulation of banks is giving them a licence to continue to self-manage public policy and conceal wrongdoing.

    What is the government thinking? Get banksters out of regulation and employ very competent public servants.

  8. 0
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    oh my dear old tremor(labor mick), you must dream of me, you just keep asking me to reply to your intelligent? remarks in these columns, of course I can’t keep up with your qualifications, after all you being a member of the forces, police, expert on terrorism and counter terrorism, refugee’s, graduate in economics, full time carer, dreamlands president or is it emperor, sails the ocean for six months of the year, speaks several languages, madelein, oberstumbann fuhrer, shows were your allegiances really lay, next time don’t forget the r, etc. however one thing what amazed me was your comment that you only found one ex-member of the liberal party and no labor representatives, you are either selective or dumb, I give you the benefit of being dumb, you may give us another assessment of the committee members, this time take your red glasses off and as for the benefits of this royal commission ask me in 12 months time, nothing will be different except more mouths will be filled at the expence of us who pay the cost of this futile exercise by increased bank charges etc, see royal inquiry in the unions etc.

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      FINALLY! Send in the clowns!!!!

      You are incapable of reading English, my son – now toddle off and drink your hemlock…. fantasist….

      Your insanity shows when you say the same things as I do – just like MD and KSS – that the committee directors will achieve nothing and the costs will still be on the end user… and yet somehow you feel it necessary to attack me personally.

      Tsk.. tsk….

      Damn you need some solid direction in your thinking, and like so many others, you need to realise that at the end of the day – we are all on the same side – it’s just that you and a few others are incapable of delineating that side.

      ” you only found one ex-member of the liberal party and no labor representatives”

      Well – hush mah mouf! You mean there are closet Labor people in there? Well – their bios don’t say so… Coonan’s does say she is a Lib.

      Can you prove they ARE Labor members?

      SHOW ME!

  9. 0
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    Thank you all for watching The Trebor Show – now it’s good night and God Bless and hope our critics can come up with something of value tomorrow…. who knows? They may even address the issues!!

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      And here was me thinking I’ve been commenting on YLC’s blog site.
      Obviously you’ve commandeered the site – now your show is it ?

      The sheer volume of your clap trap may well eventually reduce it to such as it’s obvious you’re too thick to take a hint.
      At this rate it may become your show – when numbers fall off you won’t have to put up with insufferable fools.

      Thankyou for the blessing god(dot)

  10. 0
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    Helen Noonan and Kelly O’Dwyer……two women tarred with the LNP brush….have watched their performances over the years, and I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them!!

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