Natalie Cameron becomes AFCA’s Lead Ombudsman for banking and finance

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has appointed Natalie Cameron as its new Lead Ombudsman for banking and finance after an extensive executive recruitment process.

Cameron was previously Lead Ombudsman for investments and advice at AFCA but has been acting in the banking and finance role since January.

“Lead Ombudsman for banking and finance is a key national role, with more than half of the 70,000-plus complaints AFCA registers each year coming from this sector,” says AFCA’s Chief Ombudsman and CEO David Locke.

“Cameron will have the opportunity to influence practice by working with banks and financial institutions in areas such as financial difficulty and vulnerable customers.”

"Finding ways to bring fair and efficient resolution to disputes could not be more important in a changing banking and finance environment," says Cameron.  

“As well as leading AFCA’s approach to complaints handling and decision-making in banking and finance, I look forward to ongoing engagement with the sector to help build on their positive work to prevent complaints arising.”

A lawyer by profession, Cameron began her career with lawyers Clayton Utz. She then joined the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, where she focused on regulatory policy and markets.

In 2005 she moved to AIA Australia, initially as a lawyer, then as general counsel, before becoming chief operating officer (COO) and then chief group insurance officer. For two years she was CEO of AIA New Zealand.

In 2017 she returned to Australia to join MLC Life as chief claims officer, then COO, working across all parts of the business and with advisers, corporate and superannuation clients and regulators.

Cameron joined AFCA in June 2020 as Lead Ombudsman, investments and advice. She became acting Lead Ombudsman, Banking and Finance, in January 2022, before being appointed permanently to the role this month.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Ombudsman Dr June Smith says Shail Singh will continue as Acting Lead Ombudsman, investments and advice, for the coming 12 months, having taken on this role earlier this year.

He does this in a year when AFCA is likely to see the implementation of a compensation scheme of last resort and the outcomes of the Quality of Advice review.

AFCA has five Lead Ombudsmen. They are in banking and finance, investments and advice, insurance, small business and superannuation.