The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has created a new role of senior ombudsman that aims to help provide the body with expertise and advice as it progresses projects to “enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its dispute resolution work”.
Seven new senior ombudsmen have now been appointed from internal staff, and they will now work closely with AFCA’s lead ombudsmen in the areas of banking and finance, insurance, investments and advice, and superannuation.
They include the appointment of former banking lawyer Louise McAuliffe as senior ombudsman, credit.
Ms McAuliffe was most recently head of legal, dispute resolution group, at ANZ (until August of this year) and was ANZ’s head of legal, lending services, for six years before that.
She has held a range of senior roles in corporate and private practice, including at partner level at DLA Piper.
The other six new appointments are:
- Anne Maree Howley, senior ombudsman, superannuation
- Chris Liamos, senior ombudsman, general insurance
- Shail Singh, senior ombudsman, investments and advice
- Neva Skilton, senior ombudsman, transactions
- Brenda Staggs, senior ombudsman, financial difficulty
- Andrew Weinmann, senior ombudsman, life insurance
The senior ombudsmen will be part of the leadership team in AFCA’s decision makers group, which totals more than 80 ombudsmen and adjudication panel members.
Speaking of the appointments, deputy chief ombudsman June Smith said they would “bring their specialist technical and professional expertise to bear on projects aimed at efficient and consistent decision making”, which she said was “important to both complainants and financial firms”.
Projects include developing new and revised AFCA Approaches in consultation with stakeholders, to outline how AFCA approaches certain types of financial complaints and draw on the experience of ombudsmen in resolving complaints.
“The senior ombudsman will help ensure we deliver an independent, fair and consistent approach to decision making and complaint resolution,” she added.