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AFCA appoints deputy chief ombudsman

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority has appointed Dr June Smith as its deputy chief ombudsman, reporting to David Locke.

Dr Smith is currently the lead ombudsman for superannuation, advice, investments and life insurance at AFCA, but – following a “nationwide search” for the authority’s first deputy ombudsman – will be promoted to deputy chief ombudsman on 29 July.

AFCA’s chief executive and chief ombudsman, David Locke, highlighted Dr Smith’s “wealth of financial sector experience” and “well-developed relationships with regulators, industry and consumer groups” following her roles as CEO of Code Compliance Monitoring Committee for the Code of Banking Practice, and general manager of Code Compliance and Monitoring at Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

She holds a PhD in Law from Victoria University, specialising in professional and business ethics and organisational decision-making within financial services organisations. 

Mr Locke commented: “June is well recognised for her work developing codes of practice to improve customer outcomes, along with her efforts in promoting professional standards and business ethics in the financial advice industry.” 

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Dr Smith said she was excited about the new role and commencing her first project, overseeing AFCA’s Fairness Project.

“Fairness underpins everything we do and how stakeholders perceive us and our role in complaints resolution,” Dr Smith said.

“Work has already commenced on a new Fairness Project to investigate how we can ensure AFCA decisions are made fairly and to identify a framework for confirming that complaints are consistently resolved in a way that is fair, efficient, timely and independent.”

AFCA also announced that Evelyn Halls, currently the ombudsman for banking and finance decisions, will be promoted to the role of lead ombudsman for banking and finance.

Prior to joining AFCA, Ms Halls worked as an ombudsman at FOS across a range of product areas, including banking and finance, general insurance and investments and advice.

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She was previously a partner in the corporate group at global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills where she advised corporate and government clients on a wide range of governance matters and significant transactions.

Commenting on Ms Halls’ promotion, Mr Locke said: “Evelyn has demonstrated a strong commitment to fairness and justice throughout her career.”

“Evelyn is a proactive and customer-focused leader and will ensure AFCA continues to deliver justice for consumers and increase transparency in the banking and finance sector.”

Ms Halls will also begin her new role on 29 July 2019.

[Related: AFCA appoints small business ombudsman]

AFCA appoints deputy chief ombudsman
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Hannah Dowling

Hannah Dowling is a journalist for mortgage business, the leading source of news, opinion and strategy for professionals working in the mortgage industry.

Prior to joining the team at Mortgage Business, Hannah worked as a content producer for a podcast catering to property investors. She also spent 6 years working in the real estate sector at a local agency. 

Hannah graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Media and Journalism. 

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