ASIC Commissioner Simone Constant said, ‘ASIC has taken multiple actions to protect retail investors from high risk offers and business practices that may be unfair, inappropriate or result in poor outcomes. Our more proactive approach to identifying and disrupting emerging risks and harms is in response to the rapid pace of change we have observed in recent years. Today’s report and our recent consumer warning campaign are reflective of this.
Read More ASIC Report Released on Online Trading Providers and Increased Risk to Retail Investors
New mandatory industry codes are being developed by the Australian Government to outline the responsibilities of the private sector in relation to scam activity, with a focus on banks, digital communications platforms, and telecommunications providers. A short survey is also available for members of the public who wish to participate in the consultation process and provide information about their experience with scams, rather than provide a written submission.
You can read the Consultation Paper and how to make submissions here. Submissions are due by 29 January 2024.
Read More Have Your Say on the Scams Mandatory Industry Code Survey
The number of complaints from First Nations people to the financial services ombudsman rose by 13% last financial year, with scams, delays in insurance claim handling and service quality the most common issues.
Read More First Nations People More Than Twice as Likely to Receive Poor Financial Hardship Service
More than one in 10 complaints from First Nations people related to financial hardship, double the one in 20 complaints involving financial hardship from the overall population.
AFCA says while the total number of complaints from First Nations consumers generally mirrors the proportion of the population, more still needs to be done to improve the cultural competency of the service to ensure accessibility to the ombudsman as well as financial inclusion.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has welcomed the Energy and Climate Change Ministerial Council’s (ECMC) decision to progress work on a proposed package of Game changer reforms that will deliver significant improvements in outcomes for energy consumers experiencing vulnerability.
Under the comprehensive package, consumers would receive concessions they are entitled to and those in hardship would receive their retailer’s best offer to help them lower their bills.
Read More ‘Game changer reforms’ for Vulnerable Consumers will Progress
The mandatory Code for Scams consultation paper announced by the Federal Treasury today sets out some proposals to tackle the scams crisis, however the final regulation must land on clearer stipulated standards and consumers’ rights to reimbursement of scams losses from banks if standards are not met.
“Mandatory and enforceable codes are a step forward, but consumers must be able to seek reimbursement easily, and there needs to be clarity on the high standard expected of banks and their liability,”
Read More Mandatory Code for Scams Promising But More Regulation Needed
Currently, the Disability Discrimination Act provides an exemption for life insurers to use genomic or genetic test results when underwriting life insurance contracts. Since 2019, an industry-regulated partial-moratorium has been in place that prohibits the use of these tests below certain financial limits.
Read More Consultation Opens on Use of Genetic Testing in Life Insurance
The government encourages all interested parties to make a submission in response to the consultation paper, which can be found on the Treasury website.
Original media release by CALC (24/11/2023). Consumer Action Law Centre has welcomed the scams safe accord announced by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) and Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) which has involved, for the first time, member banks joining forces and agreeing on key steps to enhance scams protections for Australian banking customers. “We are…
Read More Banking Industry Announces First Big Step in Addressing Scams
Original media release from ECA (23/11/2023). Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) CEO Brendan French, quoted in response to the Capacity Investment Scheme: quote Energy Consumers Australia CEO Brendan French: “Energy Consumers Australia welcomes this morning’s announcement which is both an important step in providing reliable supply to consumers and also a continued firm commitment by Federal…
Read More Energy Consumers Australia Welcomes Announcement of Capacity Investment Scheme, Calls for More Work for Consumers
A few days ago, on November 20th 2023 the Albanese Government’s Competition Taskforce released a Consultation Review on Australia’s laws and practices surrounding mergers. Below is information from the Treasury website on the consultation paper as well as how to make a submission and what to include. The Treasurer has also issued a media release on the consultation which is available here. Submissions for the merger consultation paper close on January 19th 2024.
Read More Submissions Open for Consultation Paper on Merger Reform
Financial Counselling Australia is delighted with today’s Government announcement about the establishment of an independent body to accept contributions from industry to fund financial counselling services.
Read More Financial Counselling Sector Applauds the Launch of New Funding Model
The implementation of an industry funding model, with funding administered by an independent body, was recommended by the Sylvan Review of financial counselling in March 2019. This was an appropriate, and innovative, response to the problem of long waiting lists to see a financial counsellor, including some people being turned away.
Original media release ASIC (17/11/2023). Today ASIC opened its consultation on the Australian Banking Association’s (ABA) proposed changes to its Banking Code of Practice (the Code). The Code contains a set of contractually enforceable standards that customers and small business can expect subscribing banks to uphold. The ABA plans to apply for ASIC approval of…
Read More ABA Consults ASIC on Proposed Banking Code Changes
Original media release by the Insurance Council of Australia (14/11/2023). An Independent Review of the 2020 General Insurance Code of Practice will be undertaken by an eminent three-person panel with backgrounds in consumer advocacy, financial regulation and the insurance industry, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) announced today. The Code sets out the minimum standards…
Read More Independent Review of the 2020 General Insurance Code of Practice