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Codes of practice—Financial services industry

What are industry codes of practice?

Industry codes of practice have been developed by a number of industry associations in the financial services sector. Each code sets out the service standards that you can expect when dealing with a company that subscribes to that code.

Membership of an industry code is normally voluntary.

Codes of practice

You can read or download a copy of the following codes of practice:

Note: The Life Insurance Code of Conduct was superseded by the Financial Services Reform Act 2001.
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What is ASIC’s role in industry codes?

ASIC has the power to approve codes in the financial services sector. We have released a regulatory guide (
RG 183) which sets out how we will approve codes. Industry associations are not required to seek our approval of their code but may choose to do so.

We expect a code submitted for approval to satisfy the following key criteria:
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ASIC's policy on approving codes of practice

ASIC approves codes as set out in RG 183 and in accordance with s1101A of the Corporations Act 2001. This is a statutory power to approve voluntary industry codes of conduct.

ASIC does not have the power to mandate industry codes. Industry must decide in the first instance whether to develop a code, and then whether to have that code approved by ASIC.

Regulatory Guide 183 describes the key features of an effective codes regime that can apply to both large and small sections of the financial services industry. The policy further sets out the process by which ASIC will exercise its approvals power.

Download a copy of RG 183
For more information see Information release 05-08, released 23 February 2005
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Monitoring compliance with the codes of practice

We monitor compliance with the code covering Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) transactions.

More information about the EFT Code of Conduct

Until 2003 we were also responsible for monitoring industry compliance with the Code of Banking Practice.

We have also previously monitored compliance with the building society and credit union codes.

More information about Compliance with financial industry codes of practice

What happens if an industry code is breached?

Generally, the industry codes require companies to have a fair process for dealing with complaints. If you think a company has breached the code, you should write to that company and ask for a response. If you are not happy with their response, you can contact the relevant independent complaints resolution scheme or industry associations. Ask the company which scheme it belongs to. Some industry associations can impose sanctions if a member breaches their code.

In some cases, a breach of a code may also be a breach of your contract with the financial institution, giving you a right to take legal action for breach of contract. Generally, however, it will be easier and cheaper to use a complaints resolution scheme in the first instance.

We generally cannot take enforcement action if a code is breached unless a breach of the law is also involved. However, we are interested in the operation of the codes. We would like to hear of significant non-compliance, which we may publicise in some instances. You can email us using our
online question form if you are aware of a serious non-compliance by a company. Visit our consumer website, MoneySmart for information about making a complaint.

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Review of industry codes

It's important that industry codes are regularly reviewed and updated – especially in the ever-changing and dynamic area of financial services.

Reviews undertaken are discussed on each of the
code pages.

Financial services homepage
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