The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has commended SMSF practitioners for the high standard and quality of advice they are providing consumers as demonstrated by the low number of complaints the sector is triggering.
AFCA revealed it received 324 complaints about financial advice relating to SMSFs over the 12-month period from January to December 2020.
“That might sound like a lot, but in the scope of our 80,000 or so (80,640) complaints [received between 1 September 2020 and 31 August 2021] it’s really only a very tiny proportion … which is 0.4 per cent,” AFCA lead ombudsman Natalie Cameron told delegates on day one of the virtual SMSF Association National Conference 2021 yesterday.
“So if nothing else, I just wanted to pass on the message that a lot of people are giving really great advice about self-managed super funds and a lot of people must be fairly happy with the service I would say – probably really happy I would say.”
Cameron pointed out around half of the 324 complaints received have now been closed.
“Sometimes these are really complex complaints and it takes a while to gather all the documents and for people to go through the mediation and the [required] process,” she noted.
To this end, 46 or 28 per cent of the complaints closed were resolved early by the financial firm. A further 29 cases, or 18 per cent, were discontinued and another 22 complaints, or 13 per cent, were unable to be actioned as they were deemed to be outside AFCA’s jurisdiction.
In addition, the complaints authority closed six cases, 4 per cent, in favour of the complainant and one complaint, or 1 per cent, in favour of the financial firm.
“[These statistics] are quite different at 1 per cent and 4 per cent, but we’re down to such a small number of complaints and when we had a look at those numbers they are really quite impacted by batches,” Cameron said.
“By batches I mean it might be one adviser’s conduct that’s affected multiple people and all of those people have brought a complaint and they each count as a single complaint.
“So actually the number of people who are giving advice about SMSFs and had a decision [given] against them is really very low.”