FOS responds to proposed banking tribunal

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has urged the government to complete the recently-announced review of dispute resolution schemes before considering establishing a special banking tribunal to handle client complaints.

The government announced in May the members of a new independent expert panel which will review FOS and other industry dispute resolution providers. 

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull indicated support for a tribunal that would deal with individuals and small businesses in regards to banking disputes.

In a statement yesterday, however, FOS urged the government to allow the dispute resolution scheme review to be completed before considering the tribunal.

“The review’s terms of reference were released by the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services only two weeks ago,” FOS said.

“The proposal for a banking tribunal falls squarely within the scope of the current government review of dispute resolution in the financial sector being undertaken by the independent expert panel.

“The independent experts appointed by the government to conduct this review are best placed to consider all aspects, from all angles, of dispute arrangements for the financial sector,” the ombudsman said.

The Credit and Investment Ombudsman (CIO) has also expressed concerns about the proposed tribunal.

“Australia is currently very well serviced by the existing dispute resolution architecture in financial services,” CIO chief executive Raj Venga said.

“The types of disputes referred to in the current debate about the need for a new body generally involve amounts that exceed the monetary limits of CIO and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), and so have not been able to be considered by either scheme.

“The more appropriate course would be to expand the jurisdictional limits and responsibilities of the existing Ombudsman schemes in the financial services sector, rather than creating a new body. CIO is committed to reviewing monetary caps that apply to small business complaints, as well as other aspects of its jurisdiction,” Mr Venga said.

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