The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has promoted seven existing staff to new roles as senior ombudsmen working across the areas of banking and finance, insurance, investments and advice, and superannuation.
AFCA said the seven senior ombudsmen will work with its lead ombudsmen and will be part of the leadership team in AFCA’s decision-makers group, which totals more than 80 ombudsmen and adjudication panel members.
Deputy chief ombudsman June Smith said the seven will “bring their specialist technical and professional expertise to bear on projects aimed at efficient and consistent decision-making, which we know is important to both complainants and financial firms”.
These projects will include developing new and revising current complaint-handling processes for different types of products and services in consultation with stakeholders and drawing on the experience of the ombudsmen in resolving past complaints.
“The senior ombudsman will help ensure we deliver an independent, fair and consistent approach to decision-making and complaint resolution,” Smith said.
The new appointments, all who are promotions from within AFCA, are Anne Maree Howley (superannuation), Chris Liamos (general insurance), Louise McAuliffe (credit), Shail Singh investments and advice), Neva Skilton (transactions), Brenda Staggs (financial difficulty) and Andrew Weinmann (life insurance).
AFCA added that while the majority of the more than 70,000 complaints that reach the authority each year are resolved by mutual agreement between complainants and financial firms, around 5000 cases require the formal input of a decision maker such as an ombudsman or adjudicator.