subscribe to our newsletter

AFCA recruits from ASIC, Westpac

The financial watchdog has hired two new lead ombudsman, across its insurance and small business divisions.

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has hired Emma Curtis, a senior executive leader for insurers at ASIC, to take the role of lead ombudsman, insurance.

She will take over from John Price, who is stepping down after 17 years as a senior decision-maker with AFCA and its predecessor consumer complaint schemes. Mr Price will continue in a part-time role.

Meanwhile, Susanne Russell will be the new lead ombudsman for small business, having previously been head of business bank legal at Westpac.

Ms Russell had worked in law firms before moving to St.George Bank, then Westpac as a corporate counsel. She had been head of institutional and business banking legal for St.George Bank for a decade, before her most recent role as practice leader for business banking at Westpac, where she provided support for SME and business banking.


Her new small business ombudsman role, focused on consumer complaints in the financial services sector, is distinct from the Australian small business and family enterprise ombudsman.

Ms Russell will join AFCA on 2 August, while Ms Curtis is set to take up her new job on 9 August.

AFCA chief ombudsman David Locke said Ms Curtis and Ms Russell will bring “significant financial sector and legal experience”.

“They will add great diversity and depth of experience to our leadership team,” Mr Locke said.

Ms Curtis has worked as a regulator for more than 10 years, having been in financial services law and governance for around 25 years in total.


She developed ASIC’s standalone insurance supervision team in her most recent role, after being joint acting executive director of ASIC’s financial services group through the 2019-20 bushfires and the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AFCA has five lead ombudsmen, who are responsible for its approach to decision making. They head teams totalling more than 80 ombudsmen and adjudication panel members across the four areas for complaints they cover in financial services: banking and finance, investments and advice, insurance and superannuation.

In addition to Ms Russell and Ms Curtis, the other lead ombudsmen are Evelyn Halls (banking and finance), Natalie Cameron (investments and advice) and Heather Gray (superannuation).

The new appointments have followed the recent commencement of AFCA’s new chair, John Pollaers, a former adviser to the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce and chair of the federal government’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce.

[Related: APRA clarifies its role under proposed credit reforms]

AFCA recruits from ASIC, Westpac
AFCA recruits from ASIC Westpac

Are you a new-to-industry broker in the process of growing your business? Then there’s some great news: The Adviser’s New Broker Academy is back in 2021 and will provide you with essential insights into cutting-edge tools, strategies and processes to fast-track to success. Don’t miss your chance to attend. To secure your FREE place, visit newbroker.com.au now!

Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins is the news editor across Mortgage Business and The Adviser. 

Previously, she reported on banking, financial services and wealth for InvestorDaily and ifa.

You can contact her on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Latest News

The chief of Australia’s largest bank has said lenders should act pre-emptively and shift their floor rates for mortgage serviceability am...

Total household wealth reached a high of $13.4 trillion in the June quarter, primarily due to rising property prices, according to the Aust...

The property exchange settlement platform has been granted approval to establish an Electronic Lodgement Network in the ACT.  ...

Join Australia's most informed brokers

Do you know which lenders are providing brokers and their customers with the best service?

Use this monthly data to make informed decisions about which lenders to use. Simply contribute to the survey and we'll send you the results directly to your inbox - completely free!

How long do you think it should take to discharge a mortgage?

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.