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For most of the course of this inquiry, external dispute resolution services were provided by the government through the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal. As such, this report focuses, where relevant, on the prior external dispute resolution arrangements. From 1 November 2018, the newly-established Australian Financial Complaints Authority replaced these dispute resolution bodies.

This report focuses on a number of key issues in the current consumer protection system. The list of key issues is not intended to be comprehensive; rather, the report provides a 'snapshot' of concerns raised in evidence about consumer protections, or the lack thereof, in particular areas of the banking, insurance and financial services sector. Where relevant, the report references work undertaken to date by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

The report consists of five chapters:

  • Chapter 1 provides an overview of the conduct of the inquiry;
  • Chapter 2 details previous and current inquiries relevant to this inquiry's terms of reference;
  • Chapter 3 outlines the current legislative and regulatory frameworks governing the protection of consumers in the banking, insurance and financial services sector, as well as government bodies responsible for oversight and external dispute resolution;
  • Chapter 4 gives a snapshot of issues raised in evidence in relation to the consumer protection system and specific sectors of the banking, insurance and financial services industry; and
  • Chapter 5 outlines the work of the Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, the committee's conclusions, and recommendations arising from the inquiry.
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