Following the authorisation of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) scheme, the government will appoint Helen Coonan as chair of newly established dispute resolutions body.
Ms Coonan held ministerial roles under the Howard government, including a three-year stint as minister for revenue and assistant treasurer from 2001 to 2007.
The former senator also holds experience in the private sector and continues to serve as advisory council member to J.P. Morgan.
“Helen Coonan will bring a wealth of expertise and experience to her position as AFCA chair,” Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer said.
“Ms Coonan has experience in the law, business, financial services and dispute resolution. She is a distinguished former cabinet minister in the Howard government, and as the then minister for revenue and assistant treasurer, she demonstrated deep knowledge and understanding of the financial services sector and the issues faced by consumers of financial products and services.”
Further, minister O’Dwyer will appoint a minority of AFCA’s board members within six months of authorising a not-for-profit company to operate the AFCA board. The government is seeking an application for authorisation by no later than 15 March 2018.
“Following the authorisation of AFCA, I intend to make other appointments to the AFCA board, including consumer and industry specialists,” Ms O’Dwyer added.
The Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Consumers First – Establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) Bill was passed by both houses of parliament earlier this month, and it is set to amalgamate the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) and the Credit and Investment Ombudsman (CIO) to form AFCA.
AFCA is designed to serve as a “one-stop shop”, enabling consumers to resolve disputes arising from their dealings in the financial services sector.
[Related: New financial complaints body formed]