AFCA appoints lead mediator | money management

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has announced the appointment of Natalie Cameron as the new Senior Ombudsman for Banking and Finance.

The AFCA said Cameron was appointed after an extensive executive search process, taking the post from her current appointment as senior investment and advisory mediator at the AFCA. She had held the banking and finance position since January.

AFCA Chief Ombudsman and Chief Executive, David Locke, said: “Natalie brings a wealth of experience in the areas of law, financial services and dispute resolution to this role. She has already made an outstanding contribution as Chief Ombudsman, both in Investments and Advice and as Acting Chief Ombudsman in Banking and Finance.

“Natalie is passionate about access to justice and achieving fair outcomes for consumers and financial companies. She is a very capable lawyer and has an open and collaborative leadership style. She has already demonstrated that she can build strong relationships with industry bodies and consumer organizations, and that she can make sound and unbiased decisions without fear or favor.

Shail Singh had taken over Cameron’s role in investments and advice on an interim basis earlier this year and the AFCA said it would continue for the next 12 months.

“Shail will continue in this role in a year where we will likely see the implementation of a compensation of last resort scheme and the results of the quality of advice review.”

The senior ombudsman for banking and finance was a key national role, with more than half of the more than 70,000 complaints recorded by the AFCA each year coming from this sector, Locke said.

Cameron was a lawyer by profession and began her career at Clayton Utz, then joined the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), where she focused on regulatory policy and markets.

In 2005, she joined AIA Australia, first 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, before joining the AFCA in June 2020.

Cameron said, “It is an honor to continue the essential work of the AFCA in helping consumers and financial companies resolve disputes. Finding ways to bring fair and effective resolution to disputes could not be more important in a changing banking and financial environment.

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