With the implementation date of the internal dispute resolution changes imminent, many advisers and licensees will have commenced updating internal complaints procedures to comply with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's (ASIC's) new standards and requirements for Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) systems.
Financial firms will need to ensure they are adequately prepared for the 5 October 2021 deadline.
What you need to know
- The new standards and requirements must be applied to complaints received on or after 5 October 2021. There is a transitional arrangement in place for complaints received before this date.
- The definition of a complaint is now broader and will include any expression of dissatisfaction made to or about an organisation, related to products, services, staff, or handling of a complaint, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required. Among other things, advisers and licensees will need to monitor posts on social media channels or accounts controlled by their organisations, as these may constitute a complaint.
- Firms must ensure that they:
- comply with the maximum timeframes to provide an IDR response-which are now shorter in some instances. Additionally, financial firms are required to acknowledge a complaint within 24 hours, or one business day, of receiving it, or as soon as is practicable.
- have a publicly available, readily accessible complaints policy and an internal complaint management procedure that sets out the detail regarding their IDR systems. ASIC has provided guidance on what the client-facing complaints policy and the internal complaint management procedure should address.
- understand and comply with the IDR standards in relation to the design, implementation and ongoing improvement of IDR systems.