Gripe, kvetch, moan – faster

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ASIC takes a special interest in how Credit and AFS licensees handle client complaints – especially when they’re facing ASIC investigation or enforcement action.

Aside from the fact that it’s a licence condition to have an internal dispute resolution system for retail clients, ASIC has always expected complaints to be dealt with ‘genuinely, promptly, fairly and consistently’.

Changes to ASIC Regulatory Guide 165 in June 2013 now put the focus on ‘timely resolution’ and significantly change the required timeframes for dealing with complaints to encourage licensees to act with a sense of urgency.

Here’s a snapshot of the impact of the key changes:

  • You’ll need to send a written acknowledgement of the client’s complaint immediately – not within 24 or 48 hours – immediately!
  • There’s no need for a full assessment and investigation of a complaint if you can resolve it within 5 business days of receipt – other than hardship claims, declined insurance claims or disputes about the value of an insurance claim, for which these are always required.
  • You’ll need to provide a final response (i.e. outcome/decision) within 45 days. You can’t extend this to take account of new information or information you can’t collect from the client. (But you do have 90 days to respond to superannuation or traditional trustee services complaints.)
  • If you can’t give a final response within this time, tell the client the reasons for the delay and direct them to your EDR scheme.

Clients must be allowed to complain in any way that is convenient for them – by email, telephone or letter. You can’t force the client to put their complaint in writing before accepting it!

Do check your Complaints Resolution process – it may need to be updated to incorporate these changes.

By The Fold's Charmian Holmes. Read the original article here.