In a significant departure from the practices of its predecessor organisations, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority plans to identify financial institutions in its published decisions.
AFCA has released a consultation paper and draft rules setting out its plan, which it says is part of its commitment to being “open, transparent and accountable to the public.”
AFCA says other ombudsman schemes already do this, including the UK Financial Ombudsman Service.
Currently, rule 14.5 of the AFCA scheme requires AFCA to publish determinations in a form that does not identify any of the parties. The proposed change would allow AFCA to identify the financial service provider but no other parties.
One submission to AFCA seen by New Investor says the ombudsman needs to make clear whether the rule change would have retrospective effect. Questions of fairness might arise if there is retrospectivity, the submission says..
The submission also argues that “naming and shaming” some financial institutions in the post-Hayne environment “is likely to cause inappropriate and unfair commercial damage to named businesses.”
It also argues that it would be unfair to name finance aggregators when a dispute involves one of its representatives. The aggregator may have no control over the conduct complained about.
And it says naming and shaming
would be inappropriate in disputes where the issue is minor, such as
misunderstandings or service standards.