Royal Commission driving financial services complaints spike
Following the royal commission, a growing number of Australians are complaining about financial services providers, with two regulators seeing significant increases in complaints made.
Complaints to the superannuation corporate watchdog, the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT), have increased by 38 per cent since the royal commission according to official figures.
It said it had received 1,001 complaints for the year but did not name superannuation funds or providers that have been targeted.
SCT acting chairperson Ragini Rajadurai believes coverage of the royal commission led to the marked increase in complaints, which saw the tribunal break an internal record.
“The increased media focus on, and discussion about, financial services and superannuation led to a significant increase in complaints to the Tribunal,” Ms Rajadurai explained.
“In October 2018, the final month of accepting complaints, the tribunal accepted 343 complaints. This was the largest number of complaints received in a single month in the tribunal’s history, an increase of 47 per cent on the month prior and an increase of 76 per cent on October 2017.”
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority, which handles disputes about banks, insurance providers, superannuation and other financial firms, has also seen a 40 per cent spike in complaints.
AFCA awarded Aussies $185 million in payouts from 73,272 complaints in its first year. Of the complaints made, 56,420 have already been resolved, with the majority taking 60 days or less.
AFCA’s chief executive and chief ombudsman David Locke believes Australians should take advantage of the free independent service on offer.
“Every day we continue to hear from people who are dissatisfied with the way their financial firm has handled their complaint,” he said.
“These matters have not been resolved internally by financial firms and so the individual then brings their complaint to AFCA.”