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ASIC cuts down complaint legwork

By Madeleine Collins
2 minute read

ASIC wants to make it easier to complain about financial services operators.

Lobbying from consumer groups has prompted the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to make it easier to complain about financial services operators.

ASIC's public register of licensees now includes details of the seven external disputes resolution (EDR) schemes each licensee belongs to.

"Our experience tells us that it can often be difficult for consumers, or those acting on their behalf, to know which EDR scheme to contact," ASIC executive director of consumer protection Greg Tanzer said.

"By making this information available in this form, we hope to make the system more accessible and transparent," he said.

The register, which is available online or over the phone, includes banks, credit unions, insurance companies, stockbrokers and financial planners.

Tanzer said the move was prompted by consumer group feedback.

ASIC has been blamed for failing to protect the retiree victims of collapsed property schemes Westpoint, Fincorp and Australian Capital Reserve.

Tanzer said the additional information was not motivated by lobbying from Westpoint investors because it is reasonably clear to those investors that they can use the Financial Industry Complaints Service (FICS).

Last week the FICS panel has upheld the first claims from investors who lost money in the Westpoint collapse.

It ordered the undisclosed financial services provider to pay back the investors.

The EDR schemes deal with around 100,000 complaints and enquiries from consumers and investors per annum.

Following feedback from consumer groups, all the schemes now participate in a common call centre for initial enquiries and complaints.