CHRISTMAS QUESTIONS WITH CHRIS HUNT

CHRISTMAS QUESTIONS WITH CHRIS HUNT

How has 2020 been for you?

Our 20th wedding anniversary arrived amidst all this tumult. As it was later in the year, we were able to get out and celebrate with a night out and stayover in the city.

I’m grateful to have retained full time employment and for the relative simplicity that comes with working from home and working without the COVID related impositions that face other industries such as hospitality. Although it was unfortunate to miss out on an overseas trip this year, I’m so grateful we are not stranded overseas. I really feel for the people who are and for those stranded here such as overseas students.

What has been your biggest success/es in 2020?

At an organisation level, both at IQ and the Client, was the implementation of BCP and being able to sustain that over an extended period. At a team level, it was project completion at the onset of the pandemic while picking up previously outsourced activities that were returned to onshore. At a personal level, it was mainly just to keep going, keep doing the things I would ordinarily do – work, study and sport even when it became harder.

What are you most looking forward to next year?

I’m cautious. I suspect that it will be similar to 2020 but hopefully without the devasting bushfires. I’m hoping for some further restorations of normality including a return to the office in some form and to normal event calendars.

What do you have planned for the Christmas break?

Visiting relatives and friends is our Christmas tradition. Christmas is rotated between different relatives in different parts of the country and overseas, however this year will be from home again.

For more from Chris … refer to our LinkedIn page (https://www.linkedin.com/posts/iq-group-australia_christmas-questions-with-chris-hunt-iq-activity-6746605913823694848-aj3s)

CHRISTMAS QUESTIONS WITH ANGIE PERRY

CHRISTMAS QUESTIONS WITH ANGIE PERRY

How has 2020 been for you?

What an interesting year 2020 has been – locked up for what seemed like an endless period of time. Yet, we got through it. It proved our resilience and adaptability.

In June, I moved into a townhouse from a unit, and this turned out to be a godsend. It gave me a small yard and garden, and this provided additional coping mechanisms for surviving lockdown. It also turns out I have a bit of a green thumb.

I am grateful that my family, friends and their families all came through COVID without illness or death. I am also very grateful that I was one of the lucky ones who had a job and could pay the bills and put food on the table. I am grateful for working for an amazing company that adapted so they could look after their staff. It was very much appreciated.

In 2020, I have also learnt that you can grow tomatoes from slices of tomato, capsicum from the seeds in a capsicum and spring onions from the butts of spring onions. Who knew!! 

What has been your biggest success/es in 2020?

Increasing delivery for a client from 12% to 45% in 6 months and building a strong team that is respected within the company. Also, adapting to delivering a project via Skype / Bluejeans / Teams etc, while living in a totally different state. Once thought impossible, now completely probable.

What are you most looking forward to next year?

I am looking forward to 2021 but only hope that it won’t be a repeat of this year. Perhaps, as they say, we should see the terms and conditions for 2021 first. I would like to travel again as I have always seen it as the reward for hard work throughout the year and I miss it.

I look forward to delivering my project on time and on budget and since there has been more compassion this year, I would like to see that continue.

What do you have planned for the Christmas break?

Every Christmas I spend the day with my Italian family. Lots of food, drink and laughter. People coming and going all day. Then, for some rest and relaxation, I am flying to Brisbane (finally) to see my Aussie family, before a few days on the Mooloolaba beach to recharge the batteries. I am disappointed I can’t go to Singapore, as I normally do, but this year has been about adapting and that is what I will do! Happy Christmas.

PHOTO:  Angie’s amazing tomatoes

For more from Angie, refer to our LinkedIn page:  (https://www.linkedin.com/posts/iq-group-australia_christmas-questions-with-angie-perry-iq-activity-6744759886544039936-WTtD )

Christmas Questions with Sarah Keast

Christmas Questions with Sarah Keast

How has 2020 been for you?

2020 has felt long. Lots of things have happened really fast. One good thing that happened to me was that I got a dog. He has been a great distraction through lockdown. This year, I’ve learnt to be adaptable.  Nothing is certain and I’ve learnt to just ride the wave.

What has been your biggest success/es in 2020?

This year I’ve onboarded to two different clients completely remotely! It is a weird experience but it makes you more proactive because you have to reach out to people cold without any prior introduction. I’ve been able to make great work relationships this way.

I was chosen to be part of an important project with a really tight deadline which gave me the opportunity to work with a highly experienced IQ team and to really work on my skills as it was all hands on deck.

What are you most looking forward to next year?

I hope next year will be smoother than this year. I’m looking forward to getting married in June and hopefully being able to travel to NZ for my grandfather’s 90th and my cousin’s wedding.

What do you have planned for the Christmas break?

Luckily, the ability to work remotely has allowed me to be able to see my parents in Kingscliff and then be able to fly to Hobart for Christmas day to see my fiancé’s parents. Usually we would only be doing one of these trips. However, with the remote working, we are able to go up earlier than usual.

Photo: Sarah and her fiancé Jacob with dog Lionel (as well as Santa)

For more from Sarah, refer to our LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6741467530117951488.

THE OPPORTUNITY OF CHANGE

THE OPPORTUNITY OF CHANGE

Whether it’s the slow and unapparent change of evolution itself or a more discernable change such as that which we experience in this current pandemic, humans will always respond and adapt.

How well we adapt, however, depends on our mindset and the work we are prepared to do. It has been nothing short of inspiring watching our clients adapt their organisations through this pandemic. 

Here at IQ, we are also changing … but we’re used to it. We do it on a daily basis. Every one of our clients is unique and that means we change according to their needs. We also make sure that we are continually learning and evolving as a company. This ‘change culture’ helps us analyse change at both personal and professional levels, giving us greater insight for our clients. 

There will always be some people who are sensitive to change and who approach it with caution and there are others who clearly see the benefits, roll their sleeves up and get stuck in. Every organisation has individuals in both camps and that’s a good thing. With any change, you need multiple approaches and perspectives in order to get the best result.

Change opens up numerous opportunities and here at IQ, we consider ourselves “realistic optimists”. We approach change positively and look for the opportunities whilst understanding and respecting the hard work that is needed to change for the better.

As an example, we work through upcoming legislative and regulatory changes quickly and easily so that we can support our clients to focus on the positive aspects and opportunities associated with these changes. Our deep industry knowledge allows us to cut through complexity and stay on the front foot, always looking forward – giving our clients the ability to pivot easily whilst not losing site of the end game.

Over the last two decades, through the digital age, older and larger organisations have had to learn to adapt quickly in order to retain customers who compare them to innovative and more agile startups. However, the new ‘COVID economy’ opens up a pandora’s box of possibility. All organisations, across all sectors, are constantly changing … either to thrive or survive.

IQ’s customisable frameworks and methods have always helped our clients navigate expected change but when change is unexpected, there’s no perfect solution – no holy grail of frameworks, methods or technologies. What is needed is a mindset and a skillset that supports clients to manage multiple change agendas and navigate new paths.  And that’s something that we here at IQ are very proud to offer.

By Sharon Campanaro (Principal Consultant)

DISPUTE RESOLUTION:  ENSURING RESPONSIBILITY

DISPUTE RESOLUTION: ENSURING RESPONSIBILITY

We must trust super funds to deliver our best outcome possible in retirement and we should expect the same level of responsibility and commitment when it comes to dispute resolution. 

In 2010 I studied SIS Legislation. At the time, I understood the R in RSE (Registrable Superannuation Entity) to mean ‘Responsible’. It was an easy mistake to make.

Here we are a decade later and the Government’s regulatory agenda, post Royal Commission, is systematically improving the financial services industry in Australia, restoring integrity to its pillars and ultimately ensuring that ‘responsibility’ is NO mistake when it comes to RSEs.

Dispute Resolution, which sits at the very core of any responsible organisation, is of course a key focus of the regulatory agenda. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen depression-level financial hardship and consumer vulnerability, so ASIC considers it essential that Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) performance is significantly improved.  Successful IDR processes go a long way to reducing customers’ emotional grievances (which is a leading cause of escalations) and help to improve products and services through effective use of complaints data. This ultimately reduces the overall number of complaints and improves responsibility over time.

In 2018, following Professor Ian Ramsay’s report: Review of the Financial System: external dispute resolution and complaints framework1,  AFCA was established and we said goodbye to the Financial Services Ombudsman, the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal and the Credit and Investment Ombudsman.

The report also highlighted that data on Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) outcomes was limited and inconsistent across organisations and the effectiveness of IDR processes could not be determined. It recommended the establishment of industry standard reporting. ASIC’s RG 165 was revised and in July this year the regulator published RG 271 Internal Dispute Resolution, outlining updated IDR standards and requirements which take effect on 5 October 2021.

Here’s a look at what’s changing:

1. Updating the definition of ‘Complaint’2

A complaint will be considered as “[An expression] of dissatisfaction made to or about an organization, related to its products, services, staff or the handling of a complaint, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required.”

By broadening this definition, social media will now be a legitimate complaint channel. Funds are also being directed to take an active approach to identify complaints. Initially, the interpretation meant funds would need a dedicated resource to trawl through digital platforms for any kind of wording about them. Instead, complaints are to be identified on accounts owned by the fund and the complainant must be identifiable and contactable.

2.  Reduced Timeframes3

In research conducted by Nature and published in ASIC’s Report 603 The Consumer Journey through the Complaint Resolution process of Financial Service Providers, 86% of superannuation complaints were concluded within the previous timeframe of 90 days.  Below is a table of the new timeframes:

 Type of complaintCurrent maximumNew maximum
Superannuation and traditional trustee services90 days45 days
Superannuation death benefit distributions90 days90 days
Other financial services complaints45 days30 days

Different timeframes apply to:

  • complaints about a traditional trustee (see RG 271.76–RG 271.78);
  • complaints about superannuation trustees (see RG 271.79);
  • complaints about superannuation death benefit distributions (see RG 271.80–RG 271.85); and
  • certain types of credit complaints (see RG 271.86–RG 271.101).

3.  Reasons for Decisions are Adequately Explained

Complaint responses are often too reliant on system-generated responses and automation capability which does not provide rationale for decisions specific to individual complaints. Data gathered from consumer research said 43% of complainants believed the rationale for the decision is important and 25%, extremely important4.

When a financial firm rejects or partially rejects a complaint, the IDR response will need to clearly set out the reasons for the decision by:

  • identifying and addressing the issues raised in the complaint;
  • setting out the financial firm’s findings on material questions of fact and referring to the information that supports those findings; and
  • providing enough detail for the complainant to understand the basis of the decision and to be fully informed when deciding whether to escalate the matter to AFCA or another forum.

4.  IDR Standards (Enforceable)

The appendix of RG 165 contained guiding principles against each of the 4 Requirements Sections of the Guide. In RG 271 there are 34 Enforceable Standards across 8 Requirements Sections:

  • Commitment and Culture
  • Enabling Complaints
  • Resourcing
  • Responsiveness
  • Objectivity and Fairness
  • Policy and Procedures
  • Data Collection, Analysis and Internal Reporting
  • Continuous Improvement

5.  Identifying and Escalating Systemic Issues

While Nature were compiling the research for ASIC’s Report 603, ASIC were conducting on-site visits to have a look at what funds were doing, when they identified issues impacting multiple members. General observations showed that systemic issues were not proactively identified or addressed. Complainants would often pursue External Dispute Resolution processes before Funds began to rectify an issue.

In RG 271, systemic issues complaints ending up at AFCA will be reported to the regulator within 15 business days.

These changes to dispute resolution, along with all the other regulatory changes to be implemented will, of course, take a lot of grit and determination from all who are involved. However, IQ comprehensively understands what these changes mean and is committed to helping clients sail through the rising tide of regulatory transformation washing over the industry.

Whilst it may have been a mistake, on my part, to think that the R in RSE meant ‘Responsible’, I’ll consider it a Freudian slip. “Responsibility” is exactly what the Government is enforcing and the financial services industry has a bright future, as do we … its customers.

By David Shortt (Operations Consultant)

1 Page 187 https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-03/R2016-002_EDR-Review-Final-report.pdf April 2017
2 Australian Securities and Investments Commission, https://download.asic.gov.au/media/5720607/rg271-published-30-july-2020.pdf July 2020, Page 13.
3 ASFA Virtual Workshops: The updated Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) procedures Under RG 271 Tuesday 20 October, 10.00am–11.00am
4 Nature, https://download.asic.gov.au/media/4959291/rep603-published-10-december-2018.pdf December 2018, Page 63

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING

To date, the implementation of Protecting Your Super (PYS) and Putting Members Interests First (PMIF) legislation has been a long and winding road and this will continue, with even more twists and bends, as the next round of changes come through.

The last two years have seen a myriad of changes to superannuation and its affiliated insurance but in the words of Billy Ocean ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. It’s been great to see the industry take on these changes, to prioritise and protect members’ interests, with focus and determination. The year ahead will be one of the toughest yet, so let’s have a look at what’s coming up in regards to insurance in super.

Oct 2020         APRA SPS 515 Strategic Planning and Member Outcomes: annual performance assessment to determine whether the financial interests of the members are being promoted; Federal Budget implications; next round of ATO auto-consolidation (PYS).

Dec 2020        Implementation of various FSRC related legislation: enforceability of industry codes (eg. Insurance in Super Code of Practice), Insurance Claims handling to become a financial service; Universal Terms for Insurance in MySuper.

Mar 2021        APRA SPS 250 Insurance in Superannuation: requirements with respect to making insured benefits available to beneficiaries; Compliance with ASIC REP633: requirements set to provide improved consumer protections which many funds will be able to meet as they renegotiate their insurance policies.

Apr 2021        Design and Distribution Obligations and Product Intervention Powers Regime: Issuers and distributors required to have an adequate product governance framework to ensure products are targeted at the right people (this regime will affect almost all areas of the financial services industry).

Jun 2021        Insurance in Super Voluntary Code of Practice becomes binding and enforceable and funds must have transitioned and be compliant before this date.

Oct 2021         ASIC REG271 Internal Dispute Resolution: financial entities must meet ASIC’s standards and requirements for Internal Dispute Resolution systems and have an AFCA membership.

Dec 2020-21   Financial Accountability Regime: extension of accountability requirements to other APRA-regulated entities and directors/senior executives in accordance with the government’s response to the FSRC recommendations.

Ongoing         AFCA implementation and compliance

Unknown       Potential creation of a co-regulatory model for industry codes: Under a co-regulatory model, industry participants would be required to subscribe to an ASIC approved code and, in the event of non-compliance with the code, an individual customer would be entitled to seek appropriate redress through the participant’s internal and external dispute resolution arrangements.

As well as ensuring compliance and implementation of all regulatory and legislative changes, super funds will still be dealing with the continuing ramifications of COVID-19. IQ remains focussed on helping our clients navigate these changes and cut through the complexity of the year to come, supporting them to achieve the best outcomes for their members.

The insurance world keeps turning and regulations and standards are constantly evolving, but members still need their insurance and funds must continue to put members interests first, in everything they do.

By Kiara Leslie (Graduate Consultant) and

Sharon Campanaro (Principal Consultant and Head of Change and Learning Services)