New financial complaints authority a landmark initiative
I welcome today's announcement by the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O'Dwyer, regarding plans for a new one-stop shop dispute resolution scheme, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
The initiative addresses a key recommendation from ASBFEO’s Small Business Loans Inquiry and will significantly improve access to justice, especially for capital-intensive enterprises.
AFCA will consolidate the existing Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT).
A small business will be able to seek resolution of a dispute where the credit facility is up to $5 million and potentially receive compensation up to $1 million.
The FOS is currently limited to considering disputes of not more than $500,000 arising from a credit facility no higher than $2 million, which excludes many small businesses.
Small businesses do not have the money or time to challenge banks through the court system and there is a significant power imbalance between banks and small businesses.
Small businesses do not have the financial capacity to hire expert legal advice to help them overcome this disadvantage.
The new one-stop-shop will be able to make binding determinations.
The higher compensation cap should also incentivise banks to resolve disputes through internal processes before progressing to the AFCA.
The Government’s proposed model will provide a genuine alternate dispute resolution option in a forum where the needs of small business are understood.
It will save time and money by significantly reducing the need for litigation.
I also welcomed the proposed transitional arrangements and the Government’s commitment to consult on AFCA’s terms of reference.
Philip Morris Increases Dividend By 3%, Becomes The Newest Dividend Achiever
By Bob Ciura
Another year, another dividend increase for tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PM). On September 13th, it raised its quarterly dividend by 2.9%.
With the raise, PM has now increased its dividend 10 years in a row, each year since the spin-off from Altria Group (MO). This makes PM the newest member of the Dividend Achievers list, a group of stocks with 10+ consecutive dividend increases. You can see the entire list of all 265 Dividend Achievers here.
This is a difficult time for PM, due to declining smoking rates and toughening regulations. And yet, the company continues to raise its dividend each year. PM’s consistent dividend growth is the result of a very strong business model. It has a long history of steady growth, and dividends.
With a 100+ year operating history and a 3%+ dividend yield, PM fits Sure Dividend's definition of a blue-chip stock. You can see our entire list of nearly 70 blue chip stocks here.
This article will discuss PM’s recent dividend increase, and why it remains an attractive stock for dividend growth investors.
PM is a global tobacco company. It sells its products in more than 180 markets, outside the U.S., where Altria reigns. PM has six of the world's top international 15 brands, including the No. 1 global brand Marlboro.
PM’s financial performance has been negatively impacted by the strong U.S. dollar, which wiped away $1.3 billion of revenue in 2016 alone, but the core business continues to perform well. Organic revenue, excluding excise taxes, increased 4.4% in 2016. Adjusted earnings-per-share increased 12% for the year.
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