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ASIC has, for the first time, cancelled the Australian financial services (AFS) licences of two NSW-based financial services providers for failure to obtain membership of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) scheme.
Sydney Business Accounting’s licence cancellation took effect on 14 February 2019, and A G Calleia & Co’s licence was cancelled on 15 February 2019.
AFCA, the new one-stop financial services dispute resolution scheme, commenced on 1 November 2018 replacing the three existing schemes: the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT).
All AFS licensees, Australian credit licensees, superannuation trustees and other financial firms that provide services to retail clients were required to become members of AFCA by 21 September 2018.
ASIC Commissioner Danielle Press said, ‘These cancellations are significant because this is the first time ASIC has cancelled licences for non-compliance with AFCA membership requirements.
‘AFCA is crucial to the protection of Australia’s financial consumers. Licensees need to be aware that failure to meet AFCA membership requirements is a serious breach of the law and ASIC will take action where licensees fail to meet this important obligation.’
Sydney Business Accounting and A G Calleia & Co had also failed to lodge their annual financial statements with ASIC. Sydney Business Accounting subsequently took steps to comply with financial reporting obligations when ASIC raised concerns.
Refer 18-275MR Financial firms must join AFCA now for information on the AFCA dispute resolution scheme.
Sydney Business Accounting Pty Ltd has held AFS licence 488915 since 2 March 2017.
A G Calleia & Co has held AFS licence since 8 June 2016.
Under the Corporations Act, ASIC has the power to suspend or cancel an AFS licence if a licensee does not comply with its obligations under s912A.