AFCA's Natalie Cameron

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority has given the advice industry a pat on the back after complaints about advisers dropped by a third since June 1.

Speaking at the AFCA member forum Thursday afternoon, AFCA’s lead ombudsman for investments and advice Natalie Cameron said only 1,238 of the 70,510 total complaints – or 1.8 per cent – received by the authority from July 1, 2020 to June 30 2021 came from the advice sector.

Since then, Cameron said, advice complaints have continued trending downwards even further.

“I’m please to say that looking at this early stage at about a 33 per cent reduction,” she said. “Well done to everyone who’s out there trying to get it right and trying to provide great advice.”

The investments and advice product sector was one of the cleanest in the financial services industry in terms of complaints received in FY21, with its 3,888 complaints behind only life insurance on 1,623.

Twenty-nine per cent of advice complaints found in favour of the complainant, Cameron said, with 63 per cent being found in favour of the advice firm.

“The takeaway is that there are enormous amounts of professionalism in advice and investments out there, [people] who are working hard to get advice to people who need it,” she continued. “It’s a very valuable service.”

The most complained about group of products was banking and finance with 42,261 complaints, followed by general insurance (16,912) and superannuation (5,249).

The positive development in the advice sector reflects a broader reduction in complaints across financial services, with 12.2 per cent less complaints received in FY21 than FY20.