Deputy Chief Ombudsman
Dr June Smith
Dr June Smith is a proud Kureinji woman. As an ethicist and lawyer, she is a recognised expert in Australian Integrity frameworks, including Codes of Practice, and has significant experience as an independent decision maker. She is the Deputy Chief Ombudsman of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority, where she leads AFCA’s approach to its Fairness Jurisdiction, including leadership of its ombudsman, adjudication, panel, systemic issues and jurisdiction teams. Dr Smith also proudly sponsors AFCA’s work on accessibility, diversity, inclusion and belonging.
Dr. Smith’s current external roles include Deputy Chair of the Victorian Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board, Member of the National Sports Tribunal and Member of the Victorian Racing Tribunal. She is also on the Executive Committee of Australian New Zealand Ombudsman Association.
Dr. Smith is an Adjunct Professor at Victoria University. She has a PhD in Law from Victoria University, specialising in professional and business ethics and organisational decision-making within financial services organisations. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Melbourne.
Emma Curtis – Insurance
Emma Curtis has 25 years of experience in financial services law and governance, including over 10 years as a regulator. Her most recent role was as Senior Executive Leader, Insurers, with ASIC, having developed its stand-alone insurance supervision team.
Ms. Curtis was joint Acting Executive Director of ASIC’s Financial Services Group through the period that included the 2019-20 bushfires and the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic. She established and led ASIC’s bushfire disaster working group and sought to ensure fair treatment of consumers as the pandemic emerged, working with financial firms on minimum hardship practice. She also led strategic engagement on the business interruption insurance issues that arose out of the pandemic.
Ms. Curtis’s work at ASIC also included helping to achieve over $300 million in remediation for consumers for the mis-selling of consumer credit and car-yard add-on insurance.
Heather Gray – Superannuation
Heather started her career at Arthur Robinson & Co (now Allens) and was a partner there for a number of years.
Heather has also held partner roles at other law firms, specialising in superannuation and financial services law.
Heather has sat on the Law Council of Australia’s Superannuation Committee for more than a decade, including a term as its Chair, and has consulted widely with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), and the Australian Taxation Office and Treasury on superannuation issues.
Heather has hands on superannuation industry experience, having been a director of the legal industry superannuation fund Legalsuper.
Prior to joining AFCA, Heather led the national superannuation practice for Hall & Wilcox.
Natalie Cameron – Banking and Finance
Ms Cameron began her career at Clayton Utz, where she completed her articles and became a solicitor focusing on insurance and litigation. She then worked with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) focusing on regulatory policy and markets.
In 2005, Ms Cameron moved into industry, where she operated as the General Counsel and Company Secretary for AIA Australia. As a member of the executive committee, she was responsible for all litigation, disputes and complaints resolution. Ms Cameron’s time at AIA Australia also spanned roles managing operations, pricing, distributor relationships and product. She later became CEO of AIA New Zealand.
Prior to joining AFCA, Ms Cameron was the Chief of Customer Operations for MLC Life Insurance.
Suanne Russell – Small Business
Suanne Russell is Lead Ombudsmen, Small Business, with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). In this role she oversees the handling of small business complaints about financial services and products. In addition, Suanne has oversight of banking transactions including scams complaints. She also works closely with the Lead Ombudsman, Banking and Finance. Suanne, a banking and finance lawyer, joined AFCA from Westpac in 2021, bringing her experience in the small business and consumer banking sector.
Suanne’s past roles have included as Head of Institutional and Business Banking Legal for St George Bank, Practice Leader for Business Banking with Westpac, and Head of Business Legal for Westpac. There, she had oversight of business lending disputes, business bank remediation projects and regulatory projects, and worked with industry bodies and regulators. Suanne was part of the Westpac team that worked on the development of business relief packages and special facilities for small business and consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shail Singh – Investments and Advice
Shail completed a law/science degree at the University of Melbourne in 1996 and commenced his legal career in 1997 at a top-tier Australian Law Firm Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashursts). Since that time, Shail has worked both in-house, and as legal counsel for various regulators including Worksafe Victoria and the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria.
Shail completed his Masters in Law at the University of Melbourne in 2005, and in 2008 he left the law to train and work as a financial planner, completing his Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning in 2009 at Kaplan, before joining AFCA’s predecessor scheme, FOS, as a case manager in 2010.
Shail was appointed as an Ombudsman at the commencement of AFCA in 2018, and then the Senior Ombudsman (Investments and Advice) in 2021. He is currently the Acting Lead Ombudsman, Investments & Advice and is a member of AFCA’s senior leadership team.
Shail has now worked in dispute resolution for over a decade and is a specialist in Investments and Advice complaints. This includes financial planning, derivatives, managed funds, timeshare, cryptocurrency and stockbroking disputes.
Jane was appointed as a Member at the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal in 2001 and is still working there 2 days a week. She has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts from Melbourne University and a Diploma of Superannuation Management.
Jane has worked in various roles in corporate superannuation with National Mutual, Buck Consultants and NSP Buck. She has worked in Administration, as a trustee and as a consultant advising trustees, and has been part of various committees in ASFA's education program over the years.
Jane currently serves as a director on the board of the Robert Connor Dawes foundation raising funds for paediatric brain cancer.
Cathie has joined AFCA as a Sessional Ombudsman after a long career in financial services. She was initially a lawyer in large commercial law firms in Sydney and overseas. Subsequently she worked in legal counsel, compliance and operational risk roles in international financial institutions. Most recently she spent 9 years as a Commissioner at the Australian Securities & Investments Commission where she had the opportunity to be involved in the regulation of our companies, financial markets, financial products and consumer credit.
Cathie has a Bachelor of Economics and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from ANU and a Master of Laws from University of Sydney.
Before joining AFCA, Michael has had a long and interesting history in law, and across a number of Australian ombudsman and tribunal services. Michael has worked as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria, been a Foundation Partner at Arnold Thomas & Becker (Solicitors) and been an Attorney, Solicitor and Proctor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
Michael has also been a member of the Legislative Council of the Victorian Parliament, and more recently worked as Legal Counsel to Arnold Thomas & Becker (Solicitors) and Arnold Dallas & McPherson (Bendigo) (Solicitors).
Michael has been a Judge and Deputy President of the Accident Compensation Tribunal in Victoria, a National Referee, Alternate Panel Chair and Adjudicator – Insurance Ombudsman Service and a National Panel Chair – Financial Industry Complaints Service.
Michael first joined the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), a predecessor scheme to AFCA, as an Ombudsman from 2008 - 2016, before taking a role as an ASIC Approved Independent Expert – Life Insurance Claims Assurance Review and a TCO Tolling Customer Ombudsman and re-joining FOS and now AFCA in 2017 as an Ombudsman.
Before AFCA, Geoff was with FOS since 2008 as a case manager and Legal Counsel. He became a team manager in Banking and Finance in 2014 at FOS, leading a highly successful team of case workers.
Geoff has worked as a solicitor in major law firms in Australia and London, specialising in banking litigation and business risk management.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Western Australia, and a Master of Laws (Commercial Law) from the University of London (King’s College). He also has a Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance from the Securities Institute of Australia.
Prior to joining AFCA, April practised as a consumer and insurance lawyer for major Australian plaintiff law firms and Legal Aid NSW. April has significant experience representing vulnerable clients in superannuation matters, insurance claims and in co-ordinating disaster response. April was a consumer representative panel member at AFCA between 2018 and 2021 working across most jurisdictions.
In addition to her role at AFCA, April is a non-executive director at the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON) and the Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS) and a panel member at QCAT, reviewing decisions under the Health Ombudsman Act (Qld).
April holds a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws from Monash University. She has also completed a Diploma of Superannuation Management and the Company Director’s Course.
Before joining AFCA, David practised for many years as a commercial litigation lawyer, and continues to do so. David has a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Latin) from Melbourne University.
He has been an accredited commercial litigation specialist for over 20 years and has been a nationally accredited mediator for over 5 years and regularly conducts mediations for the VSBC and in relation to Court proceedings. He has recently been appointed as a member of the VCAT mediator panel as well. David is adept at resolving disputed matters and communicating with stakeholders, and dealing with complex legal and factual scenarios.
Michael Brett Young
Michael Brett Young has over 40 years of experience in the legal industry. He recently completed twelve months as the interim Chief Executive Officer of the Law Council of Australia.
In 2015, he was appointed by the Victorian Attorney General to undertake a review of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights, and report on his findings to Parliament. Between 2006 and 2014 he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Law Institute of Victoria.
Previously, he was the Managing Partner of a large national firm which specialises in work injury compensation, transport accident compensation, medical negligence and class actions and business law.
He has extensive experience in Legal Education, having been a member of the Monash University Law Faculty Board, and on advisory groups for both La Trobe University and RMIT. He is currently a member of the College of Law Victoria Chapter Board and is a previous chair of the Estate Agents Council and a former member of the Chiropractors Registration Board.
Michael completed a combined degree in Economics and Law at Monash University in 1975.
Vicki is a lawyer with over 25 years experience in the legal and financial services industries.
Prior to joining AFCA in 2017, she held a number of senior roles including as a partner in a Melbourne law firm and manager of the litigation and dispute resolution team of a major life insurer.
Since being appointed an ombudsman, Vicki has worked across a broad range of product areas, including life insurance, general insurance, investments and advice and superannuation.
After working for ASIC, ASX, ANZ, BT and HSBC, Doug has provided legal and compliance services to the stockbroking and financial services industry and regulators. He is part of the team that wrote and mark the Financial Advisers Examination, and was the editor of the ASX/ASIC Responsible Executive Exam.
Doug also provides assurance support and technical writing for the Professional Standards Authority. He has been an expert witness in a number of disciplinary matters and market-related court cases and prosecutions in Australia, Singapore and New Zealand. He worked in Policy for the predecessors to the Stockbrokers and Investment Advisers Association.
As well as being a solicitor, Doug is a qualified workplace trainer, providing compliance training for stockbroking and financial firms and regulators.
Ian's legal career began in commercial practice, working for a major law firm in Sydney and Tokyo with a focus on commercial property and investment. He subsequently made the move to the public sector. Over the past 30 years, he has gained extensive experience with the Australian and Victorian Governments and that of the United Kingdom. In senior and executive roles, Ian's work has spanned public and administrative law, policy, regulation and alternative dispute resolution. Specific appointments include Senior Lawyer at the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Chair of Victoria’s Business Licensing Authority, and Member and Chair of the national advisory body for the Uniform Consumer Credit Code (predecessor to the National Credit Code). Among his responsibilities at the AHRC, Ian was Counsel Assisting at the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families.
Most recently, Ian served as Principal Legal Adviser and Deputy Chief Dispute Resolution Officer at the external dispute resolution agency for Victoria's residential building and construction sector, Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria. He was also a Director of Good Shepherd Microfinance from 2012 to 2019.
Ian graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney; he has a Law Degree from the University of NSW; and he gained a Masters of Law from the University of Sydney. In addition to his legal qualifications, Ian is a nationally accredited mediator and a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Brydie joined FOS in 2016 as a Case Manager and then went on to become a Team Manager. She was then appointed an Adjudicator in December 2017.
Before joining FOS, Brydie worked in private practice as a solicitor specialising in insurance law. Brydie also worked in legal policy for the ACT Government.
She holds a Juris Doctor from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
After working in-house for UBS Warburg in London and with Minter Ellison in Melbourne, Nick Crowhurst joined the Financial Industry Complaints Service Limited in January 2005 as a Case Manager and quickly became its Legal Counsel. He moved to the Financial Ombudsman Service Limited (FOS) as Legal Counsel in 2008 and was appointed its Company Secretary in 2010. Nick stayed in this role for FOS and AFCA until November 2019 when he commenced as an Ombudsman.
He is also the Independent Chair of Tolling Customer Ombudsman Limited, the EDR operator for toll roads, and is the Managing Director of his own strategic advisory firm, The Collaboratus Group Pty Ltd. Nick holds a UK Joint Honours degree in Law and Management Science and is a Graduate of the AICD Company Directors Course and a Fellow of both the Governance Institute of Australia and the Institute for Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.
Carolyn joined the Banking and Financial Services Ombudsman (BFSO), the predecessor scheme to FOS and AFCA, in 2004 as a banking and finance case manager. Since then she has undertaken roles as a senior case manager dealing with complex banking and finance disputes, as an advisor providing jurisdictional advice and as a Team Manager managing jurisdiction and banking and finance teams. Carolyn was appointed as an adjudicator in 2019.
Before joining BFSO, Carolyn had a finance industry background working with one of the large Australian banks and holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from Monash University.
Rebecca Devon has over 15 years’ experience practising as a financial services lawyer in major Australian and English law firms and over 10 years’ experience practising in-house within the financial services industry including at the Westpac Banking Corporation within the BT Financial Group and at REST Industry Super. Rebecca has extensive experience in advising trustee boards of superannuation and managed funds. As an Ombudsman in the Investments and Advice team at AFCA Rebecca provides decisions on disputes in the financial advice, managed funds, derivatives, cryptocurrency, stockbroking, and timeshare, industry.
Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Law, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, holds a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment, and holds a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice.
Ian has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry. He was with FOS since 2009 as a case manager and Legal Counsel from 2010. Prior to FOS, he worked in ASIC’s Enforcement Directorate as an in-house lawyer and as a team leader with oversight of complex investigations. He specialised in commercial and insolvency law in a private legal practice.
Ian holds a bachelor of laws from Queensland University.
Louise du Pre-Alba
Louise du Pre-Alba has over twenty years experience in superannuation regulation and policy development. Louise has worked at the Head of Policy and Strategic Policy Advocate at AustralianSuper, the Director of Policy at the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australasia, and as the Senior Executive Leader, Superannuation, at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Louise has a Bachelor of Arts (Politics Major) and Bachelor of Laws from Monash University, an executive MBA, Diploma of Superannuation, Diploma of Financial Planning and is a GAICD.
Louise serves on the board of Household Connect Ltd, whose charitable purpose is to provide benevolent relief to older Australians in need of accommodation, care, companionship and community.
Sasha has joined AFCA as a Sessional Ombudsman. He has over 20 years’ experience in the legal industry. Since 2012, he has been a commercial barrister at the Victorian Bar, specialising in banking and finance, property, consumer law, and insolvency.
Prior to the Victorian Bar, Sasha practised as a commercial litigation solicitor at major law firms and as a corporate lawyer in the dispute resolution group of ANZ.
Sasha holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in Finance) from the University of Melbourne. He has also completed the Insolvency Education Program with the Insolvency Practitioners Association of Australia.
Qasim joined FOS in 2010 as a case manager and was appointed to the role of Adjudicator in 2015.
Before joining FOS, in the initial years of his professional career Qasim worked in private legal practice as well as worked with the United Nations - World Health Organisation. Qasim has worked extensively in the insurance sector handling claims, legal recoveries and dispute resolution.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Law and Political Science) and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons).
Danae is a dual-qualified lawyer, admitted to practise in England and Australia. Before joining AFCA as a Sessional Ombudsman, she was formerly a partner at a top UK law firm, practising as a commercial litigation lawyer. She has over ten years’ experience practising in England and continues to practice in Australia. Danae has a particular expertise in financial services disputes and is well-versed in resolving complex disputes through communication with individuals and the industry alike.
Danae briefly worked at AFCA’s predecessor scheme, FOS, in 2016 in the Investments and Advice team.
Patrick completed a bachelor of law and bachelor of business at La Trobe University prior to commencing his professional career as a lawyer in private practice.
From practising law, Patrick commenced his AFCA career in 2018 initially working in case management. Patrick then moved into people management before entering the decision maker space in 2023.
Outside of AFCA, Patrick has a strong connection to many local sporting clubs and associations. He has filled the roles of coach, captain, committee member, tribunal member and chair and events coordinator.
Emma joined AFCA in 2022 as a panel member in the General Insurance team and in January 2023 she joined the team full time as an Adjudicator.
Before joining AFCA Emma worked as a solicitor for 15 years in private practice and as a senior solicitor for Legal Aid NSW, including the Disaster Response Legal Service. Emma has experience with disaster related legal issues and providing legal services to vulnerable consumers.
Emma has a Bachelor of Arts from Sydney University and Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Southern Cross University.
Hannah has joined AFCA as Sessional Ombudsman and currently also sits as a member of the Building Appeals Board determining appeals and disputes.
Hannah has worked in-house at ASIC and ATO in corporations and business law, this work included the introduction of law to permit a new investment structure.
Hannah has previously worked at AFCA as a case manager across the General Insurance, Investments and Advice and Remediation teams. Prior to AFCA Hannah worked in private practice as an insurance and commercial litigation specialist and as a legal volunteer in community legal services.”
Anne Maree Howley
Prior to joining AFCA, Anne Maree has had extensive experience as a financial services lawyer. Anne Maree’s experience includes in-house legal roles in superannuation and life insurance companies and working as a solicitor with a top tier law firm. In addition, she has served on a number of trustee committees directed at complaints, claims, disclosure and risk management.
Anne Maree has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts from Monash University. She also holds a Graduate Diploma of Corporate and Securities Laws from the University of Melbourne.
Jennifer started with AFCA in 2023 as an Ombudsman in the General Insurance team.
Before joining AFCA Jennifer worked as Acting Director of Mob Strong Debt Help and Senior Solicitor at Financial Rights Legal Centre. Prior to that she was a solicitor at Legal Aid NSW. Jennifer has broad experience with legal issues relating to financial services, particularly as they affect vulnerable consumers.
Jennifer has also been a mediator with Community Justice Centres NSW.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws from the University of NSW.
Chris Liamos has been with AFCA and its predecessor schemes since 2007. During this time he has held roles in case management, jurisdictional, and legal counsel roles. He has also served as a Fast Track Adjudicator, a role he had held since its creation in October 2014.
Having graduated with a double degree in law and science, majoring in mathematics, Chris has worked extensively in the insurance sector, handling recoveries, public liabilities, insolvencies, and VCAT hearings since 2000.
Damyon has experience across a broad range of financial service areas. As a solicitor, he commenced private practice working as an insurance litigator before becoming a partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers Legal in their commercial division. He then worked in-house with companies like MLC and AMP, specialising in superannuation and life insurance. In the last 10 years he has worked as a commercial lawyer with CBA and ANZ leading in-house legal teams.
Damyon has also worked as a part time member of the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, a predecessor scheme to AFCA. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney, Diploma of Laws S.A.B. and Graduate Certificate in Management from the AGSM.
Jesse has previously worked as a solicitor in banking and finance at King & Wood Mallesons and as a solicitor in the litigation practice at Consumer Action Law Centre during the Financial Services Royal Commission.
Since then, Jesse has also worked as a policy adviser in financial services in the Australian Commonwealth Parliament. Jesse holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and a Bachelor of International Relations from La Trobe University and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice.
Louise McAuliffe has extensive experience as a disputes lawyer and has held senior roles in corporate and private practice, including at partner level. Before joining AFCA, Louise worked in the ANZ legal team, most recently as head of the Dispute Resolution Group. Louise’s time in private practice included roles at Corrs Chambers Westgarth and DLA Piper (formerly Phillips Fox), where she became a partner.
Louise holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Master of Laws from the Queensland University of Technology. She is an accredited mediator under the Australian National Mediator Accreditation System.
Mark joined FOS as a case manager in 2016. He worked in the General Insurance and Banking & Finance teams before being appointed as an adjudicator in 2019.
Before joining FOS, Mark worked as a lawyer specialising in commercial litigation.
Mark holds a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Laws from Monash University.
Radhika Mendis has over 20 years’ experience in insurance law and litigation.
Before joining AFCA, Radhika worked in private practice and was a partner at Lander & Rogers for a number of years. She has also worked in London, both in private practice and as in-house counsel for a Lloyd’s managing agency.
Radhika has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce from Monash University.
Before AFCA, Helen previously worked as an Ombudsman with the Financial Ombudsman Service Australia and FOS UK. Helen's diverse professional career developed from her initial years in private legal practice in Australia as a commercial lawyer. This was followed by a period based abroad in the role of head international legal counsel for a private investment group with interests across the Middle East, Europe and the UK. She has also held trustee/board (including chair) positions on several professional and not-for-profit organisations.
Helen has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Queensland University of Technology, and was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the High Court of Australia. Helen also has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New England and a Graduate Diploma in Education from Charles Sturt University.
She is a past president of the Women Lawyers’ Association of Queensland and contributed several chapters to a book of biographies of prominent female lawyers in that State.
Anna has over 10 years experience in private practice. Anna has also worked for Legal Aid NSW where she assisted clients with civil law matters including disaster related legal issues.
Anna was appointed as a General Member in the Consumer and Commercial Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal from 2017-2023.
Anna was also a consumer representative panel member at AFCA (and FOS) from 2013 across all product areas.
Anna holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Sydney University, a Bachelor of Nursing from University of Technology, Sydney and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice.
Ben joined AFCA as legal counsel in 2019, focusing on superannuation. Prior to AFCA, Ben worked for the Australian Government Solicitor on significant matters and litigation for the Commonwealth including as a solicitor assisting the Financial Services Royal Commission. Ben assisted the Commission on a variety of work including investigating instances of misconduct and conduct falling below community standards in the superannuation and banking industries.
Ben has previously worked as an in-house dispute resolution lawyer for the ATO. He also has a history of working with Legal Aid and volunteering with community legal centres.
Ben holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and a Bachelor of Commerce from the Australian National University.
Prior to AFCA, Matt worked for law firms over the course of 10 years, representing insurers and individuals. He also has several years of financial industry experience.
Matt joined AFCA as a General Insurance Case Manager in 2010. He moved to the Quality, Knowledge and Improvement team in 2017, dealing with complaints. He then spent two years as a Team Manager for one of the General Insurance teams.
Matt holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from Swinburne University.
Don was an Ombudsman at FOS before joining AFCA. Prior to coming to FOS, he was a full-time Member at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). During his four years at VCAT, he sat in the Civil, Occupation and Business Regulation and Guardianship lists. Before working at VCAT, he was a specialist insurance litigation partner in a large Melbourne legal firm for 21 years.
Don has a Masters of Law from the University of Melbourne and he is the former Legal Member of the Chiropractors Regulation Board and former Treasurer of Headway Victoria.
Toniel Paton has 18 years of experience in law and financial services. She started her legal career at Rigby Cooke, where she spent 3 years practising in Commercial Litigation, focusing construction and insolvency disputes.
Prior to joining AFCA, Toniel worked as a Special Counsel in the General Insurance team at Hall & Wilcox Lawyers where she practised for 13 years. During this time, Toniel gained significant experience in general insurance advice and litigation, focusing on liability and property damage claims, policy interpretation and indemnity disputes.
Toniel has acted for many high profile Australian insurers and Lloyd’s of London syndicates. She was heavily involved in the aftermath of the 2011 Queensland floods, assisting a large national insurer to resolve claims referred to external dispute resolution. Toniel also supervised a team of paralegals handling motor vehicle litigation.
Alan joined the Banking and Financial Services Ombudsman in 2006 as a case manager having previously worked as a lawyer in private practice and as in-house legal counsel for a large financial firm. In 2010, Alan was appointed legal counsel with the Financial Ombudsman Service and was appointed as an ombudsman with AFCA in 2020.
Alan has extensive experience resolving complex banking and finance complaints and holds a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University.
John has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Prior to AFCA, John was Lead Ombudsman – General Insurance at the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) Australia, having previously acted as Referee, Adjudicator and a Panel Chair there too.
John was until recently also a Director of State Trustees Limited and STL Financial Service Limited and Chair of the State Trustees Limited Australia Foundation and member of the Audit, Investment and Remuneration Committees.
John is also a Code of Conduct Commissioner for Cricket Australia and Chair of the Pennant Cricket Appeals Board for Cricket Victoria.
John’s industry knowledge has been built through his experience as a solicitor at Maurice Blackburn & Co from 1978, becoming a partner in 1984. He headed up the industrial personal injuries practice until retiring from the firm in 2004.
John also brings his experience as a member of the Accident Compensation Committee for more than 20 years, a member of the Victorian WorkCover Authority Legal Liaison Committee and numerous Victorian Government working parties and advisory groups.
John is a member of ANZOA, the peak body in Australia and New Zealand for industry-based, parliamentary and statutory ombudsman offices.
Ragini joined AFCA as an Ombudsman in 2021, with a broad history in dispute resolution management and decision making in the fields of superannuation and insurance.
Immediately prior to her joining AFCA, she had been the Deputy Chairperson of the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal for five and half years. Previous to this she had been a Superannuation Complaints Tribunal Member.
Ragini, is a long-term member of the Victorian Bar with extensive litigation and mediation experience. She holds a Bachelor of Jurisprudence, a Bachelor of Laws and a Masters of Business Administration.
During her career Ragini, held senior executive roles in the Financial Ombudsman Service(FOS), a predecessor scheme to AFCA, and has been a Law lecturer at RMIT University and an instructor at the Leo Cussen Institute.
Sharan has joined AFCA as a Sessional Ombudsman. She is also an accredited and practising Mediator under the Australian National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) and a Qualified lawyer with over 20 years’ experience in restructuring, corporations and insolvency law (receiverships, liquidations, and voluntary administrations) and commercial litigation.
Sharan has held senior positions in both private practice with Gadens and HWL Ebsworth and within the commercial sector at CBA and ANZ.
Sharan has been involved in more than 400 mediations across all jurisdictions and was the author of ANZ’s Commitment and Principles when managing its small business farming customers in financial difficulty.
Sharan holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne.
Before joining AFCA as a sessional Ombudsman Michael has practiced at the Victorian Bar since 2003. He appears in a variety of insurance related matters in the Victorian Courts, including personal injury cases, Workcover proceedings and institutional abuse claims. Before moving to the Bar Michael was a Senior Associate working in insurance litigation in a large Melbourne legal firm.
Michael has Honours degrees in Science and Law. He is experienced as a Mediator and, prior to entering the law, was a qualified Psychologist.
Larissa has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry. She has held positions in retail banking of Head of Compliance for Citibank and Head of Legal and General Manager of Compliance for CBA’s Retail Bank. Prior to in-house roles, Larissa was a partner at Deacons. Larissa has joined AFCA as a sessional ombudsman.
Larissa has a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Economics from University of Sydney.
David Short was previously Head of Legal, Risk and Compliance at BizCover. He has over 25 years’ experience across insurance, both in-house as general counsel at Chubb Insurance and in private practice as a partner at Ebsworth and Ebsworth, Hall and Wilcox and Meridian Lawyers. He has been listed in Best Lawyers for Insurance Law in Australia. With BizCover, he was part of the executive committee of a growing company, and at a time when it built out its complaint management.
Alexandra has over 10 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Previously with FOS, an AFCA predecessor scheme, Alexandra has worked in case management, conciliation and people management. Prior to joining AFCA, Alexandra worked in private legal practice and as a judge’s associate. She also has extensive experience in teaching and training in alternative dispute resolution skills, particularly in conciliation practice.
Alexandra has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts from Macquarie University and Masters of Dispute Resolution (Hons) from the University of Technology Sydney.
Starting at the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) in January 2012, Chris has significant experience dealing with matters concerning vulnerability and financial hardship (including all banking and finance matters) in the AFCA decision maker space. Chris previously worked in the AFCA financial difficulty team as well as the AFCA Systemic Issues team assisting the Lead Ombudsman with investigations into banking matters of a systemic nature. Chris was appointed as an AFCA Adjudicator in February 2019, utilising his skills and expertise in the AFCA decision maker space, with a particular focus on banking complaints which also included financial hardship and other vulnerability. In December 2022, Chris joined the ombudsman team (banking & finance) with a continued focus on complaints which include aspects of financial hardship and vulnerable consumers, along with other areas of expertise within banking and finance.
Prior to working at FOS and AFCA, Chris was a Counsellor and Psychotherapist and spent many years assisting vulnerable people in private practice as a relationship and therapeutic counsellor. Chris also gained experience as a Financial Counsellor, working over three different not-for-profit government agencies in regional Victoria, assisting vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers. Chris has also worked for one of the major banks as a Financial Coach – assisting vulnerable and disadvantaged customers who had been through the bank’s hardship program and had not recovered from their financial hardship.
Mervyn joined AFCA in 2018 as a Case Manager in AFCA’s new Superannuation area. He was appointed the first Superannuation Adjudicator in June 2019. Mervyn has a BSc from Melbourne University and is an Associate of both the Actuaries’ Institute and the Institute of Actuaries (London).
Mervyn has worked in various senior roles in corporate superannuation with consulting actuarial firms, administrators, public offer funds and in the trustee office. In those roles, he has worked as a consultant advising trustees & employer sponsors and as a trustee.
Neva started working at FOS in 2012 as a banking and finance case manager. In 2015, she became a team manager of one a banking and finance team. In 2018, Neva was appointed as an adjudicator in both the general insurance and banking and finance teams. In 2019, Neva became an Ombudsman with AFCA.
Neva has significant experience investigating all different types of complex banking disputes, but has a particular interest in disputes relating to unauthorised transactions.
Before joining FOS, Neva worked in private legal practice specialising in general insurance law. Neva holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Deakin University.
Tami is a lawyer with extensive experience in regulatory policy and working in consumer legal practice. Tami commenced at a top-tier commercial law firm before moving into the public sector in civil litigation. Most recently, Tami worked as a senior regulatory lawyer at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and prior to that as a consumer and financial services specialist lawyer at Legal Aid NSW. Tami has particular expertise in representing vulnerable consumers in complex and sensitive disputes.
Tami has a Bachelor of International Studies and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Sydney.
Prior to joining AFCA, Ben worked as in-house legal counsel with a statutory authority responsible for administering a number of Victorian state government superannuation schemes which included both accumulation and defined benefit products. While he was there he gained significant superannuation experience which included complex complaints and decisions that were appealed to VCAT.
In April 2019, he commenced with AFCA as legal counsel specialising in superannuation. Ben has an interest in external dispute resolution schemes and previously worked at FOS in the banking and finance area. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the Australian National University.
James joined AFCA in late 2021. He is a lawyer who has worked in law firms in Australia and Canada, advising both lenders and borrowers, particularly with commercial and business loan facilities.
James also worked as a lawyer within banks in Australia, primarily focussing on agricultural and general business facilities.
As a legal officer, James worked at a United Nations tribunal in Geneva dealing with war reparations (claims and compensation).
Diana joined FOS/AFCA as a dispute officer in 2014 and has progressed her career through roles as case analyst, case manager and most recently as a technical quality support manager (TQSM).
In her time at AFCA, Diana has worked in both the Fast Track and Standard & Complex teams, giving her a comprehensive understanding of the broad range of issues that arise in the Banking and Finance area.
Diana is a qualified lawyer and has demonstrated strong analytical and written skills in her previous roles, where she has often been allocated responsibility for very complex complaints. Diana has a passion for mentoring and coaching more junior staff, which will be a critical factor for the ongoing success of the Fast Track team.
Susan joined CIO/AFCA in 2017, having previously worked in private practice including as a senior associate at Herbert Smith Freehills. During her time at AFCA, Susan has worked as a case manager, technical quality support manager and most recently as legal counsel.
She is a qualified lawyer and an accredited mediator and is currently completing her Masters of Law at the University of Melbourne. As legal counsel, Susan often works on some of AFCA’s most complex matters, where she provides thorough and well-considered advice that demonstrates a high level of technical expertise.
Andrew joined FOS as an ombudsman in 2017 after fifteen years in private practice, working at Australia’s major plaintiff law firms. Andrew was previously the national head of superannuation and insurance at Slater and Gordon, where he grew and led a busy practice helping clients across Australia.
Andrew has served as director with several not-for-profit and community organisations, and has a long record of service as a volunteer at community legal centres in Melbourne and Geelong. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor Laws (Hons) from Flinders University.
Dr Nigel Wilson
Nigel Wilson is an Australian commercial, insurance, dispute resolution and regulatory lawyer with thirty years’ legal, corporate, government and Senior Executive leadership experience. Nigel is a highly experienced legal adviser and counsel to Australian insureds and insurers, governments and regulators (including the ASIC, ACCC, Indigenous Land Corporation and the National Disability Insurance Agency) and has extensive experience in General Counsel and Company Secretary roles.
Nigel holds qualifications in Law (Honours–1st Class) and Economics from the University of Adelaide and a Masters’ degree in Law from Oxford University. He has completed Harvard University’s “Cybersecurity – Managing Risk in the Information Age” and was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of South Australia for his thesis: Regulation in the Information Age in Australia. Nigel has taught Insurance Law in the University of Adelaide’s Master of Laws programme and has been a member of the Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA) for over thirty years and was President of AILA (SA) from 2015-2019.
Moreen started at FOS/AFCA in 2017 as a case manager before becoming a team manager where she led the legacy jurisdictions until its conclusion.
Moreen moved and managed the team that deals with natural disasters such as bush fire, floods and COVID-19 related complaints. She was also involved in handling the COVID-19 Business Interruption complaints before moving into her current role.
Moreen has over 18 years of experience in insurance where she worked for different insurers in New Zealand and Australia.
She holds a Bachelor of Commerce.
Andrea joined FOS in 2012 as a case manager in the Banking & Finance team. Before joining FOS Andrea worked as a lawyer in private practice and as an in house lawyer with an insurer and a bank.
She has experience investigating and resolving complex banking and finance disputes and holds a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne.
Terri joined FOS in 2011 as a banking and finance case manager. Since then she has undertaken roles as a senior case manager dealing with banking and finance and insurance disputes and as a team manager. She has experience investigating and resolving complex banking and finance disputes and insurance disputes. Terri was appointed as an adjudicator in 2018.
Before joining FOS, Terri worked as a lawyer in both criminal and corporate law. She has worked in private practice as senior legal counsel at one of the “big four” Australian banks.
Terri holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Economics from Monash University.
Jerome has been with AFCA and its predecessor schemes since 2007. During this time, he has dealt with general insurance, life insurance, and investments and advice disputes, and has held roles as a senior case manager and a team manager.
Before joining FOS, Jerome was a legal practitioner in Malaysia and has worked extensively on banking, insurance and commercial matters. Jerome holds a Bachelor of Laws from University of London and an MBA (finance) from Charles Sturt University, NSW.
Elizabeth joined the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO), one of AFCA’s predecessor schemes, in 2015 as a Case Manager. In 2017, she became a Team Manager in Banking and Finance before being appointed as an Adjudicator in 2020.
Elizabeth has significant experience investigating and resolving complex banking and finance disputes. Before joining the CIO, she worked in private legal practice specialising in recoveries litigation for one of the major banks. Elizabeth was admitted as an Australian lawyer in 2011 and holds an LLB (Hons) from the University of Glasgow.
Andrew joined FOS, the predecessor scheme to AFCA, in 2010. During his time at FOS and AFCA, Andrew has worked in the Financial Difficulty and Banking and Finance teams. Andrew was appointed as an adjudicator in 2023.
Andrew holds a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws (Banking and Finance) from Monash University.
Daniel started with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) as a Case Analyst in 2017 before joining its replacement scheme, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), as a Case Manager in 2018. He was appointed as an Adjudicator in November 2020.
Before joining AFCA, Daniel worked for a major insurer where he specialised in natural disaster, complex, and sensitive claims.
Daniel holds a Diploma in General Insurance from the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance.
Stephanie joined AFCA as a case manager in 2017 in the area of General Insurance. Stephanie also completed a secondment in the Registration and Referral team before becoming an Adjudicator.
Prior to joining AFCA, Stephanie worked in private practice as a commercial litigation lawyer in both Melbourne and Sydney for approximately seven years, primarily in the areas of insolvency and debt recovery. At her last firm, Stephanie managed the Sydney office of the national practice and was subsequently appointed as a Legal Practitioner Director of the firm.
Stephanie has a particular interest in dealing with natural disaster complaints and holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Business (Financial Management) from La Trobe University.
Senthur joined AFCA in March 2019 as a Case Manager in AFCA’s systemic issues area specialising in superannuation. Prior to joining AFCA he was a financial planner with one of the larger wealth management brands.
Senthur also has experience working in various roles in the superannuation industry. These roles were at trustee offices and their administrators with experience in internal dispute resolution. Senthur has a Bachelor of Business (Financial Planning) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
Max joined the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), a predecessor to AFCA, in February 2011 after completing his tertiary studies in legal and dispute resolution at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
Max held a number of positions at FOS, including Dispute Officer, Dispute Analyst and Case Manager, before moving into a people leadership role in January 2017. From then, Max led successful and high performing teams within Fast Track and Standard and Complex until he was appointed as an Adjudicator in April 2020.
Angelia Talagala has over 22 years of experience in insurance. Angelia joined FOS/AFCA in 2011 and has held several leadership roles as a manager/senior manager at AFCA.
Prior to AFCA, Angelia worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers Sri Lanka, held managerial roles in the insurance and reinsurance space at Union Assurance PLC in Sri Lanka, she was the assistant general manager at Delmege Insurance Brokers in Sri Lanka and later worked for QBE Insurance.
She is a Fellow of ANZIIF and has a post graduate diploma in marketing (CIM UK), advanced diploma in insurance (CII UK) and is also a qualified management accountant (CIMA UK).
Kate joined AFCA as a Senior Dispute Resolution Specialist in 2019. She was appointed as an Adjudicator in May 2023 after a period as a Senior Technical & Quality Specialist.
Prior to AFCA, Kate worked as a lawyer and policy advisor for various statutory authorities regulating national employment law.
Kate has a Bachelor and Master of Laws from La Trobe University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Melbourne University.
Lauren joined AFCA in 2019 as a case analyst and became a case manager in 2020. Lauren was appointed to the role of Adjudicator in 2023.
Before joining AFCA, Lauren practiced as a lawyer specialising in Wills and Estates.
Lauren holds a Bachelor of Laws from Victoria University.