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FCA submissions to government, regulators and others.

Removal of the exemption for funeral expenses policies– Exposure draft legislation
Submission to: Treasury (Financial Services Reform Taskforce)
This package of draft legislation is a direct response to the Financial Services Royal Commission. The draft bills remove the current exemptions for funeral expenses policies from the licensing and conduct regime in the Corporations Act. We also argue that other exemptions for funeral insurance should also be removed from the Life Insurance Act and the Insurance Contracts Act. The submission supports the commencement date of 1 April 2020. The submission also raises concerns about the impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait policy holders of funeral insurance company ABCF. If this company does not obtain a licence under the new regime, a compensation/redress scheme will be needed for these policy holders. They should not face the loss of past contributions and no future coverage for the costs of their funerals, because of a past legal loopholes and poor drafting.
Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management to Cashless Debit Card Transition) Bill 2019
Submission to: Senate Community Affairs Committee
We do not support the proposed expansion of the compulsory cashless debit card to some people on Centrelink payments in the Northern Territory, . We remain concerned that it deprives people of choice which negatively affects their wellbeing and financial capability.
Joint consumer submission (Consumer Action, Financial Rights, FCA and Choice) – Exposure Draft consultation on the Corporations Amendment (Design and Distribution Obligations) Regulations 2019
Submission to: Financial Services Reform Taskforce, Treasury
We support DADOs applying as broadly as possible to reduce the number of loopholes in the law (a problem called out in the Financial Services Royal Commission). For example, DADOs should apply to buy now, pay later products. This submission supports the extension of DADOs to basic bank accounts. We argue that proposed exclusions for credit provided for business purposes and pawnbrokers should be removed, so that they are also included in the regime.
Joint consumer submission – mortgage broker best interests duty and remuneration reforms
Submission to: Treasury
The broking industry needs wholesale reform if it is to act in the best interests of people taking out home loans. We support the imposition of a best interests duty, which should be expanded to all financial products, and the requirement to prioritise needs. There need to be stronger penalties for misconduct, the establishment of record keeping obligations and the loophole about the way a broker is defined needs to be closed. The root cause of so many problems in the mortgage broking industry is remuneration and wholesale reform is needed in this area: removing volume-based and campaign-based commissions, banning non-volume based bonuses, a prohibition on recommending excessive mortgages, ensuring that clawback arrangements encourage switching, defining conflicted remuneration, ensuring that IT software and support systems deliver fair results and ensuring that education and training events are genuine. These reforms would be pro-competitive so that brokers would be forced to scan the market and help people find a loan that best suits their needs. Although the prohibition of upfront and trail commissions are not within the scope of this proposed legislation, the consumer movement reiterates its support for these recommendations from the Financial Services Royal Commission.
Adequacy of Newstart and related payments and alternative mechanisms to determine the level of income support payments in Australia
Submission to: Senate Community Affairs References Committee
This is a joint submission from FCA and the State/Territory financial counselling associations. Fairness should be the underpinning principle in decisions about the level of income support payments. We support an urgent increase in Newstart by at least $75 per week to ensure people are more likely to be able to keep a roof over their heads and pay the household bills. We support an independent review of the adequacy of income support payments and the introduction of an independent body to set such payments to ensure they remain adequate into the future.
Senate Inquiry: Centrelink’s compliance program
Submission to: Senate Community Affairs References Committee
We do not support the continuation of the Centrelink automated debt collection process (robodebt). We remain concerned that debts claimed are inaccurate and people who may be experiencing vulnerability are paying debts they do not owe. Centrelink must be sure that a debt is owed before it commences any debt collection process and has the onus of proof. The debt collection process must be designed to be fair and take extra care in all circumstances as it is likely that the person receiving Centrelink is in financial difficulty, disadvantaged or vulnerable.
NCCP Amendment (Mandatory Comprehensive Credit Reporting) Bill
Submission to: Treasury
This joint consumer group submission responds to proposed legislation to include hardship flags in credit reports. We have long opposed this approach. The submission argues that proposed retention timeframes are too long, that hardship flags should only be visible to credit providers that are making responsible lending assessments and that hardship information should not be incorporated into credit scores.
Update to RG 165: Internal dispute resolution
Submission to: ASIC
We have welcomed ASIC’s decision to review its guidance on internal dispute resolution for financial services providers. We support making the guidance on internal dispute resolution enforceable. We recommended that fairness and good industry practice are considered when financial firms are responding to complaints. We also supported a 30 day time limit to respond to a complaint.
Product Intervention Powers
Submission to: ASIC
We support the approach by ASIC on the implementation of the product intervention power. In legislating this power, the Parliament has recognised the need for ASIC to prevent or halt significant consumer detriment when it is identified.
Using the Product Intervention Power: Short term credit
Submission to: ASIC
We support ASIC using its product intervention power to prohibit short term lending models (the Cigno model). The short term lending model currently being used by Cigno causes significant harm to people and we urge ASIC to intervene urgently.
AFCA Approach to Responsible Lending
Submission to: Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)
Consultation on Better Banking for Vulnerable Customers
Submission to: Australian Banking Association
Submission calls for the Banking Code of Practice to include among other changes: further principles and specific provisions to better protect vulnerable people; to more imaginatively set out critical information that people need to know instead of relying on the “fine print”; training for staff to help them ask direct questions about relevant personal characteristics that leave a person more vulnerable; and providing actual access in remote areas, such as pop-up banking.
Joint consumer group submission to ACCC re application by the Australian Banking Association for authorisation of proposed amendments to the Banking Code of Practice (changes in response to the Financial Services Royal Commission)
Review of the Rural Financial Counselling Service
Submission to: Department of Agriculture
Submission calls for the RFC Service to work much more closely with generalist financial counselling services because of the many similarities in the work of both roles. Possible benefits include better communication and professional development and ultimately better client outcomes.
Update to RG 209 – Credit Licensing; Responsible Lending Conduct
Submission to: Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Submission calls for AFCA to make it explicit that RG209 will be a relevant factor in resolving disputes about responsible lending; that compliance with RG209 should be a key commitment in industry codes that deal with lending under the National Credit Act; that the required inquiry and verification steps be set out in RG209; that these required steps not be reduced for any credit products; and that credit providers should be audited regularly.
Superannuation Binding Death Benefit Nominations and Kinship Structures
Submission to: Treasury
Submission recommends that kinship be included as a specific category in legislation as an option for a binding death benefit nomination. This area of superannuation is complex, and binding death benefit nominations can be ruled invalid for a number of reasons. People of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent are very clear about their kinship relationships but are not able to choose their appropriate beneficiaries because such relationships are not legally recognised.
Enforceability of Financial Services Industry Codes Consultation Paper
Submission to: The Treasury
Inquiry into the Resolution of Disputes with Financial Service Providers within the Justice System – Joint Submission
Submission to: Australian Senate
Review of Retail Grocery Industry (Unit Pricing) Code of Conduct
Submission to: The Treasury Department
Review of Early Release of Superannuation Benefits – Further Consultation and Draft Proposals – Joint Submission
Submission to: The Treasury
Consumer Safeguards Review Part B – Reliability of Services – Joint Submission
Submission to: Department of Communications and the Arts
Independent Review of the Customer Owned Banking Code of Practice – Joint Submission
Submission to: Customer Owned Banking Association
Independent Review of the Customer Owned Banking Code of Practice January 2019
Life Insurance Code of Practice, Consultation Draft – Joint Submission
Submission to: Financial Services Council
Corporations Amendment (Design and Distribution Obligations and Product Intervention Powers) Regulations 2018 – Joint Submission
Submission to: The Treasury
Senate Inquiry into Credit and Financial Services Targeted at People in Financial Hardship – Joint Submission 2
Submission to: Australian Senate
This submission addresses the capacity and capability of the financial counselling sector to assist people experiencing financial stress. A separate submission was made in relation to credit and financial services targeted at Australians at risk of financial hardship.
Senate Inquiry into Credit and Financial Services Targeted at People in Financial Hardship – Joint Submission 1
Submission to: Australian Senate
This submission addresses the terms of reference questions in relation to credit and financial services targeted at Australians at risk of financial hardship. A separate submission covers the capacity and capability of the financial counselling sector (TOR (c)) to assist people experiencing financial stress.
Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry: A Proposal for the Industry Levy to Fund Community Financial Counselling and Consumer Legal Services – Joint Submission
Submission to: Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry
Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry: Issues Relating to Gambling
Submission to: Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry
Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry: Response to (Round 7) Interim Report
Submission to: Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry
Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry: Superannuation – Joint Submission
Submission to: Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry
Treasury Laws Amendment (Design and Distribution Obligations and Product Intervention Powers) Bill 2018 – Joint Submission
Submission to: The Treasury
Credit Card Responsible Lending Assessments – Joint Submission
Submission to: Australian Securities Investments Commissions
Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry Round 4 Hearings – Interactions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in Regional and Remote Communities with Financial Services Entities
Submission to: Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry
Treasury Laws Amendment (Protect Your Superannuation Package Bill Package) Bill
Submission to: The Treasury
Use of Hardship Flags in Credit Reporting – Joint Submission
Submission to: Attorney General's Department
Early Access to Superannuation under Compassionate and Financial Hardship Grounds
Submission to: The Treasury
Oversight of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority: Update to RG139 – Joint Submission
Submission to: Australian Securities and Investments Commission
This submission provides a response to ASIC's draft Regulation Guide 139 and its oversight of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
Inquiry into Competition in the Australian Financial System – Joint Submission
Submission to: Productivity Commission
Bankruptcy Amendment (Debt Agreement Reform) Bill 2018 – Joint Submission
Submission to: Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
A submission that supports the changes proposed by the Exposure Draft of the Bankruptcy Amendment (Debt Agreement Reform) Bill 2018 and proposes further reforms.
Early Release of Superannuation Benefits – Under Compassionate and Financial Hardship Grounds and for Victims of Crime Compensation – Joint Submission
Submission to: The Treasury
General Insurance Code of Practice 2017 Review: Interim Report – Joint Submission
Submission to: Insurance Council of Australia
Bankruptcy Amendment (Enterprise Incentives) Bill 2017 – Reduction of Bankruptcy Period from 3 Years to 12 Months – Joint Submission
Submission to: Attorney-General’s Department
A response to the Bankruptcy Amendment (Enterprise Incentives) Bill 2017, supporting the reduction of the bankruptcy period from 3 years to 12 months and some ongoing obligations for bankrupts and proposing other amendments.
Review of Provisions Relating to Gambling and Betting Odds in Live Sport in the Commercial Radio Code of Practice
Submission to: Commercial Radio Australia
Review of Provisions Relating to the Broadcast of Gambling and Betting Commercials and the Promotion of Odds in Live Sport in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice
Submission to: Free TV Australia
Review of Provisions Relating to Gambling and Betting Commercials and the Promotion of Odds During Live Sport in the Subscription Television Industry Code of Practice
Submission to: Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association
Pre-Budget Submission to the Federal Government (2018-19 Budget)
Submission to: The Treasury
ACCC Draft Determination re the Continuation of Fee-Free ATMs in Selected Very Remote Indigenous Communities – Joint Submission
Submission to: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Small Amount Credit Contract and Consumer Lease Reforms – Joint Submission
Submission to: The Treasury
Strengthening Penalties for Corporate and Financial Sector Misconduct
Submission to: Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Open Banking Review Issues Paper – Joint Supplementary Submission
Submission to: The Treasury
Australian Bankers Association Application for Authorisation A91593 – Joint Submission
Submission to: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Inquiry into Competition in the Australian Financial System – Joint Submission
Submission to: The Productivity Commission
Open Banking Review Issues Paper – Joint Submission
Submission to: The Treasury
Sixth Casino Licence Review
Submission to: Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation
External Dispute Resolution Review Supplementary Issues Paper – Joint Submission
Submission to: The Treasury
Review of Mortgage Broker Remuneration- Joint Submission
Submission to: The Treasury
Inquiry into Better Management of the Social Welfare System Initiative
Submission to: Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
Submission to the Inquiry into Consumer Protection in the Banking, Insurance and Financial Sector
Submission to the Review of the Financial System Dispute Resolution Framework (Interim Report)
Submission to DSS Discussion Paper on Financial Wellbeing and Capability Activity
Submission to the Public Inquiry on Disability Support Pension Administration (Audit Report)
Submission to the Review of the Financial System Dispute Resolution Framework
Submission to the Productivity Commission’s Report into Competition in Human Services
Consultation on Expansion of FOS’s Small Business Jurisdiction
Submission to the Review of Federal Consumer Law
Submission to the AER’s Consultation on the Minimum Disconnection Amount
Submission to the Treasury Consultation on Improving Consumer Outcomes in Credit Card Usage
Response to the Proposals Paper: Improving Bankruptcy and Insolvency Laws
Pre-Budget Submission to the Federal Government Re: Funding of Financial Counselling Services Makes Sense
Submission to the ‘Proposed Industry Funding Model for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’ consultation
FCA Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs Inquiry into the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Debit Card Trial) Bill 2015
FCA Submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Economics on the Inquiry into Matters Relating to Credit Card Interest Rates
FCA Submission to the Impact on Service Quality, Efficiency and Sustainability of Recent Commonwealth Community Service Tendering Processes by the Department of Social Services
2015 Pre-Budget Submission Further support for continued funding of financial counselling
Submission to ASIC re: Electronic Disclosure FCA Response To ASIC Consultation Paper 224
Pre-Budget Submission Calls for Ongoing Funding for Financial Counselling
Submission to: The Treasury Department
A pre budget submission calling for continued funding for financial counselling.
ATM Fees in Remote ATSI Communities Final submission
ATM Fees in Remote ATSI Communities Interim submission
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