ASIC alerts firms to AFCA registration
The corporate regulator has warned that accounting firms required to join the Australian Financial Complaints Authority but are yet to do so must act immediately.
Licensees that are not a member of AFCA as at 21 September 2018 are in breach of their licence obligations, ASIC said in a statement.
As a result, it said it can immediately commence action to suspend or cancel their licence.
In the case of credit representatives, if they are required to join AFCA but do not do so by 1 November 2018, their authorisation will become invalid and they will need to cease engaging in credit activities.
“There are more than 300 licensed financial firms who are still to join, and most of these are credit licensees who were previously members of the Credit and Investments Ombudsman. A number of credit representatives who must join the scheme are also yet to do so,” ASIC said.
“Credit licensees, and those credit representatives who are required to join AFCA, should have joined AFCA by 21 September 2018. AFCA will start accepting consumer complaints from 1 November 2018.”
ASIC said it is receiving regular membership updates from AFCA and is contacting firms who have not taken out AFCA membership or responded to AFCA communications.
It also added that licensees and representatives who are leaving the industry should take steps to cancel their licence in accordance with licence conditions, which include resolving all open consumer complaints and complying with the relevant requirements.
In September, ASIC approved AFCA’s complaint resolution scheme rules and the terms of reference of the AFCA independent assessor (IA).
“The approval of the AFCA rules and the IA terms of reference follow a period of public consultation and feedback, and both AFCA and ASIC appreciate the timely contributions from industry and consumer representatives to that process,” said ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell.
“Further material changes to the AFCA scheme will also need to be approved by ASIC.”