Sources of assistance
Former Storm clients should consider whether they need to get financial advice about their current financial position and their options. They can seek further information from the Financial Planning Association (FPA) at http://fpa.asn.au/. The FPA has set up a financial planner referral service for former Storm clients who are looking for advice about their current financial position.
Former Storm clients should also consider whether they need to consult a lawyer or financial counsellor. ASIC’s dedicated consumer website www.moneysmart.gov.au has contact details for financial counsellors.
Affected Commonwealth Bank customers should contact the bank regarding it’s Customer Resolution Scheme.
A website has been set up by a group of former Storm clients, Storm Investors Consumer Action Group Inc (SICAG), to provide information to Storm clients: see www.sicag.info.
Financial Ombudsman Service
Anyone with a complaint against Storm involving a claim for financial loss should contact the liquidators, Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants, to register the claim. If you have a complaint against another financial services provider, such as a bank, you should, in the first instance, complain to the provider directly.
If your complaint against a financial services provider other than Storm or against a bank cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, you may be able to refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (www.fos.org.au), The Ombudsman can deal with unresolved disputes up to certain monetary amounts (either $100,000 or $150,000 depending on whether you became aware of the dispute before or after 1 July 2008).
Unfortunately if your complaint is against Storm, you will no longer be able to refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service because Storm is now in liquidation. The Ombudsman can only accept complaints against firms that are licensed by ASIC. If a firm is unlicensed, or if its licence is cancelled, then the Ombudsman cannot accept complaints against it. Similarly, the Ombudsman cannot accept new complaints against a firm that is in liquidation.
If you lodged a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Scheme against Storm before it went into liquidation on 26 March 2009, the Ombudsman will still have jurisdiction to hear the complaint. However, there is no guarantee that any claim will be able to be paid, even if the Ombudsman finds in your favour. An Ombudsman award may still be helpful to you if you need to prove you are a creditor of the firm, as the administrator may accept it as a 'proof of debt'.