15 consumer groups and professional associations call for stronger compensation scheme

(Joint media release with Association of Financial Advisers (AFA), Boutique Financial Planning Principals Association, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), CHOICE, Consumer Action Law Centre, Consumer Credit Legal Service (WA) Inc, Council of the Ageing (COTA), CPA Australia, Financial Rights Legal Centre, Financial Counselling Australia, Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA), Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), Super Consumers Australia, and Uniting Communities)

Organisations unite to call for a broad financial compensation scheme, as legislation is expected to be introduced into Federal Parliament in the coming weeks.

A diverse coalition of 15 organisations, including consumer groups, professional financial advice associations, financial counsellors, professional accounting associations and community legal centres are calling on the Federal Government to expand the proposed compensation scheme of last resort (CSLR).

The groups are calling for the proposed legislation to be expanded to provide compensation for all financial products and services that fall under the jurisdiction of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).

The Government’s draft bill will exclude vast segments of the financial industry, including managed investment schemes and the funeral expenses industry, leaving many victims of financial institutions including product providers are not required to contribute to the costs of compensation.

Quotes attributable to Alan Kirkland, Chief Executive Officer of CHOICE

“When the Government announced its response to the Banking Royal Commission, we welcomed the commitment to establish a compensation scheme. Now, some 32 months since that commitment, the scheme proposed by the Government is incredibly disappointing. it will leave too many victims of financial misconduct without access to the compensation they deserve.”

“The Government’s proposal will exclude victims of managed investment scheme collapses, like the many elderly Australians who lost their savings through the collapse of Sterling First. It will also exclude consumers from First Nations communities who were tricked into paying for funeral expenses policies by the Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund, now trading as Youpla.”

“One of the reasons we had a Banking Royal Commission was because thousands of victims of financial misconduct had been left without compensation. The establishment of a compensation scheme was one of the Royal Commission’s most important recommendations. The Government’s proposals fail to live up to the spirit and letter of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.”

Quotes attributable to Dante De Gori, Chief Executive Officer of Financial Planning Association of Australia

“Consumers purchase financial services and products from a broad range of product providers, manufacturers and professionals.”

“They deserve the same protections and access to compensation, regardless of where they make their purchase. A last resort compensation scheme must operate equally and fairly across the entire sector to ensure consumers have faith in the system.”

The Government must ensure that those product manufacturers who profit from consumers’ investments, also contribute to compensation.”