The peak body representing Australia’s finance brokers has endorsed some of the key elements of the Ramsay Review’s interim report on external dispute resolution.

The report recommends a single industry Ombudsman scheme for credit, financial, investment and small business disputes to replace the existing Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

Executive Director of the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) Peter White said while the association welcomes the recommendation to unify the CIO and FOS, it has concerns about the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) also coming under the same scheme.

“The ASBFEO should be left as a stand-alone Ombudsman because its responsibilities and dispute resolution matters are entirely different from those being dealt with by the CIO and FOS.

“While the FBAA supports the CIO and FOS uniting, a future single Ombudsman must be properly staffed and budgeted appropriately to deal with the increased number of cases,” Mr White said.

“It is economically sensible to combine both financial schemes but at the same time, we do not want to see a negative monopolisation to the market which impacts everyone involved.

“One Ombudsman is better from a consumer and user perspective provided they have the necessary resources to ensure the issues are dealt with quickly and efficiently, which is not the case at the moment.”

Mr White said brokers will benefit in the long-term having a single Ombudsman which is properly resourced and staffed and able to deliver swift outcomes to disputes.

“Small businesses will also be better served with their own Ombudsman who can focus on issues relating to their field of expertise.”