Demand leads to new roles at complaints authority

  • By Kate Weber

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has begun recruiting for a number new senior roles with some members already been appointed by AFCA’s CEO.

The positions are a response to the extra support AFCA requires due to its rapid growth and the expansion of its jurisdiction from 1 July 2019, when it will start accepting complaints dating back to 2008.

Chief Ombudsman and CEO David Locke will appoint a deputy chief Ombudsman and general counsel to support AFCA the new demand and said prioritising a effective resolution of disputes, plus an increased emphasis on identifying issues and serious misconduct in the financial services industry.

“AFCA has grown quickly since we launched on 1 November 2018. It is now a much larger national body with an ambitious strategy.

“Appointing the key senior roles of Deputy Chief Ombudsman and General Counsel will ensure AFCA is able to deliver a fair, proactive and customer-focused dispute resolution service in a rapidly changing, complex operating environment.

“We have experienced an unprecedented level of complaints in our first six months of operation – over 35,000 consumers and small businesses have raised complaints with AFCA. "This is extraordinary and really reflects an increased awareness by consumers of their rights, and an increased willingness to complain,” he said.

Locke continued to say working together with financial services is vital in the success of complaint handling.

“We also take very seriously our role of working with the financial firms who are our members to improve their Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) practices, and it is important that we have the right people at the helm to guide AFCA’s approach.

“Organisational culture and leadership is a key focus at AFCA, and we are always looking for bright people who are passionate about fairness and access to justice,” Locke said.

AFCA will also be recruiting a Lead Ombudsman – Banking and Finance, following the resignation of Philip Field, who will finish up at AFCA at the end of July.

“I thank Philip for his service and dedication over the 17 years he has been an Ombudsman and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours,” Locke said.