AFCA has unveiled two new senior recruits, filling all Lead Ombudsmen roles with female executives.
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority that was formed as a one-stop resolution scheme three years ago announced two new Lead Ombudsmen, for Insurance and for Small Business.
Emma Curtis is joining from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), taking on the role of Lead Ombudsman Insurance. Suanne Russell, who will be the new Lead Ombudsman Small Business, comes from a senior legal business banking role at Westpac Banking Corporation.
It means all five Lead Ombudsmen are females.
With the appointments, 54% of all leaders in the organisation are women, including 59% of senior leaders and 67% of board members.
The statistics are in stark contrast to the ASX where the latest survey found two thirds of ASX companies – 129 – did not have a single woman in line roles for leadership.
Deputy Chief Ombudsman June Smith said: “I am very proud to lead an all-female team of this calibre, experience and expertise.
“It is good for AFCA and it’s great for the financial services sector to have more female role models in executive leadership roles.”
Announcing the appointments that take effect in August AFCA Chief Ombudsman David Locke said: “Emma and Suanne will bring significant financial sector and legal experience to these important roles.
“They will add great diversity and depth of experience to our leadership team.
“Emma is well known and respected in the insurance industry. She brings many years of experience in consumer law and insurance.
“Suanne is a leading banking and finance lawyer and her experience in the small business and consumer banking sector will be invaluable.”
AFCA is the ombudsman service for the financial services sector, handling 70,000 complaints a year.
Its five lead ombudsmen are responsible for AFCA’s approach to decision making. They head teams totalling more than 80 ombudsmen and adjudication panel members.
AFCA’s other lead ombudsmen are Evelyn Halls (Banking and Finance), Natalie Cameron (Investments and Advice), and Heather Gray (Superannuation).
Ms. Russell joins AFCA on August 2, while Ms. Curtis takes up her role on August 9.
Ms. Curtis takes over from John Price, who retires as Lead Ombudsman Insurance after 17 years as a senior decision-maker with AFCA and its predecessor schemes.
He will continue in a part-time role. “We thank John for his tremendous service, working for the benefit of both industry and consumers, most recently through a series of devastating natural disasters and as the COVID-19 pandemic presented unique challenges,” Mr. Locke said.
“We are glad to be able to continue to draw on his experience and counsel.”
See more from InFinance on AFCA’s previous appointments here