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Disputes in the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Statute of Limitations

Monday, May 9, 2016

Almost 5 years has passed since ASIC was first alerted to rogue financial advisors of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Seven financial advisors were formally removed from the industry for engaging in misconduct by forging clients signatures, creating unauthorised investment accounts and overcharging fees resulting in over 700 clients suffered loss totalling millions of dollars.
 
If you have received inappropriate advice from a financial services provider, such as your financial planner or advisor, you should be aware of the time limit you have to bring legal proceedings should negotiations with the financial services provider fall through or if the Financial Ombudsman Service is dealing with the dispute.
 
The Financial Ombudsman Service provides free services to consumers (and some small businesses) that are unable to resolve disputes with financial services providers that are members of the Financial Ombudsman Service. A financial services provider is a member of the Financial Ombudsman Service if they hold an Australian Financial Services License.
 
If you have engaged in negotiations with the financial services provider, or if the Financial Ombudsman Service does not make a determination in your favour, you should be aware that the maximum period of time you are allowed to bring legal proceedings is not paused or extended.
 
The Limitation Act 2005 (WA) provides a general limitation period of 6 years from the time a cause of action arises. Similarly, the limitation period for damages under section 82 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) is 6 years “after the day on which the cause of action that relates to the conduct accrued”. This could be interpreted as either the date you purchased the inappropriate financial products or when you suffered loss.
 
However, different causes of action across various areas of the law have varied limitation periods. There is no limitation period that applies across the board.
 
In order to protect your right to bring legal proceedings, a writ should be issued against the party you wish to bring legal proceedings against.
 
We can prepare and file a writ for you, provide you with advice on any potential claim you may have and the time limit you have to bring legal proceedings.
 
We can also represent you in the hearing of a dispute conducted by the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

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