Lead Ombudsman

Geoff Browne – Small Business

Geoff Browne Profile picturePrior to joining AFCA in 2019, Geoff Browne has held several high profile senior roles supporting the small business sector. Geoff was the Victorian Small Business Commissioner from 2011 to 2016, where he successfully decreased the number of disputes between landlords and commercial tenants, expanded engagement with small and medium businesses, and increased awareness of the dispute resolution services offered by the Commission with customer satisfaction ratings of 95 per cent.

Prior to this Geoff was Deputy Director at Consumer Affairs Victoria, and has had senior management experience in both the public and private sectors, working in telecommunications, finance, and e-commerce. He has also run his own small business, and offers a wealth of experience in this area.

Mr Browne holds a Master’s Degree and First Class Honours Degree in Economics, and a Graduate Diploma in Company Secretarial Practice.

Evelyn Halls – Banking and Finance

Evelyn Halls

Evelyn has over 20 years of experience in the legal and financial services industry. Prior to the establishment of AFCA, Evelyn spent six years as an Ombudsman at the Financial Ombudsman Service. Evelyn has worked across a range of product areas, including Banking and Finance, General Insurance and Investments and Advice.

Evelyn was previously a partner in the Corporate Group at global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills where she advised corporate and government clients on a wide range of governance matters and significant transactions.

Evelyn holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree from the University of Melbourne. She is also a graduate of the AICD Company Directors Course.

Evelyn is a two-time Olympian and an Executive member of the Australian Olympic Committee. She is also an Integrity Commissioner for Cricket Victoria.

John Price – General Insurance

John PriceJohn 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.

Ombudsman

Jane Abbott

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.

Michael Arnold

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.

Geoff Bant

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.

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.

David Coorey

David Coorey is a former FOS Board Director and former Senior litigator at Legal Aid NSW. David served on the FOS Board as a Consumer Director for some 9 years. As a Senior lawyer with Legal Aid NSW for 16 years, David specialised in financial services litigation, policy and advice work. David led the Consumer Law Division at Legal Aid NSW for a number of years, including growing the expertise within the organisation in the resolution of financial services disputes through EDR.

David had he has particular experience and expertise in the issues affecting consumers of insurance and credit products, as well as life products within superannuation. He previously worked with the law firm Freehills for three years, including a one year pro bono secondment to Kingsford Legal Centre.

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.

Chris Liamos

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.

Alison Maynard

From the inception of the Financial Ombudsman Service until December 2012, Alison was Lead Ombudsman, Investment, Life Insurance and Superannuation (ILIS). At AFCA, Alison now holds a valuable role as one of our decision makers in the ILIS space. Prior to the establishment of FOS on 1 July 2008, Alison had been Chief Executive of the Financial Industry Complaints Services (FICS) since January 2001. Prior to that she was the National Operations Manager at Insurance Enquiries & Complaints Ltd.

Alison has also worked as a Director of the SIO Consumer Appeals Centre, Supervisor of Clinical Training at Leo Cussen Institute (Solicitor Training) and as a solicitor at the Coburg and St Kilda Community Legal Centres. Alison holds a Bachelor of Jurisprudence and a Bachelor of Law from Monash University and was admitted to legal practice in April 1982.

Pamela McAlister

Pam is an experienced financial services lawyer and governance specialist, with particular expertise in superannuation law and practice, trust law and regulation. She is also a part-time member of the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal.

Pam’s past roles include senior governance consultant with Mercer, specialist superannuation partner at Hall & Wilcox, Greenfields and Freehills, Group Executive - Governance at Australian Unity and Deputy Executive Director at the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. She was a member of the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal’s Advisory Board until the end of 2018.

Pam has also chaired the Superannuation Committee of the Law Council of Australia, been general editor of the Australian Superannuation Law Bulletin, lectured in superannuation, trusts and administrative law for several tertiary institutions and served as a director on trustee boards and committees for a number of superannuation funds.

Christine McCarthy

Christine has several decades of experience in the insurance industry and in legal practice. She has a Masters of Law from Melbourne University, specialising in insurance law, and is an accredited mediator.

Since 2007, Christine has worked as an Adjudicator with the Insurance Ombudsman Service and previously as an Ombudsman with the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Christine's industry knowledge derives from extensive experience as a partner in a law firm and a senior executive at a statutory authority.

Helen Moye

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.

Vicki Mullen

Vicki Mullen is a lawyer with over 25 years of experience in public policy and regulatory affairs. She has worked in various roles in government including positions with a High Court Judge, the NSW Parliament, the NSW Cabinet Office, and a senior NSW Minister. She has also worked across the insurance and financial services sectors in senior positions with the Insurance Council of Australia, the Actuaries Institute, IAG and the Financial Services Council.

Most recently, Vicki has worked with Swiss Re in the Public Sector Solutions team, working with governments and public sector agencies to support economic resilience. She holds degrees in Arts and Law (ANU), and a Master of Laws (UNSW). She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Vicki grew up in Armidale in northern NSW, and is passionate about supporting community resilience in rural and regional areas. She is a Director of BackTrack, a not-for-profit organisation supporting kids at risk.

Don O'Halloran

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.

Jacqueline Pirone

Jacqueline has over 25 years of experience in the legal and financial services industry.

Before her role as an Ombudsman for AFCA, Jacqueline worked for the predecessor scheme FOS as a Legal Consultant to the Lead Ombudsman in the Investment and Advice Decision team.

Jacqueline has previously worked as a Special Counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright, as a Senior Associate at SRB Legal and as a National Claims Manager (General Liability and Product Liability) for CGU Insurance.

Jacqueline has also held a number of Board and Governance Roles, including the Audit & Risk Committee for Tennis Victoria, as a Foundation Board Member for Very Special Kids, and as Delegate Director for Emergency Services and State Superannuation Board.

Jacqueline holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degree from Monash University and a Graduate Diploma of Insurance from Deakin University. She is also a graduate of the AICD Company Directors Course.

Shail Singh

Shail joined the Financial Ombudsman Service in 2010 as a case manager and progressed to senior case manager in 2013.  In 2015 Shail began managing the Investments and Advice Unit 1, where his team focused on investments, traditional trustee and life insurance complaints.

In 2018 he was appointed by the Board as an Ombudsman. Shail has significant experience dealing with financial planning, investments, stockbroking, CFD and FX disputes.

Prior to joining FOS, Shail was a Financial Planner at ARA consultants from 2008 – 2010 and Legal Counsel for various organisations including the Medical Practitioners Board (2003 – 2005), Sara Lee (2000) and Worksafe Victoria (2005 to 2008). 

Shail has a bachelor of laws and bachelor of science from Melbourne University (1996) and a Masters in law from Melbourne university (2005) and an advanced diploma financial services (2009).

Brenda Staggs

Prior to joining AFCA Brenda practiced as a lawyer for 18 years. She worked in-house, in private practice and the social justice sector, specialising in Insurance and Financial Services. 

Brenda worked in major law firms, as a director of a Legal Practice, as a senior lawyer at Redfern Legal Centre and as Disaster Response Co-ordinator at Legal Aid NSW.

Brenda also served as a member of the General Insurance Code Governance Committee.

Brenda holds a Bachelor of Law (HONS) from the University of New England  and is currently completing a Bachelor of Psychology.

Ruth Talalla

Ruth joined FOS in 2007 as a senior case manager in banking and finance. She was appointed as one of the first two banking adjudicators in 2014.

Before joining FOS, Ruth was a Senior Associate at Freehills for six years and a solicitor at top tier firms in London for seven years, specialising in commercial and insurance litigation.

Ruth has a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Hons) from the University of Sheffield (UK).

Jacqueline Thompson

In 2001, Jacqueline joined the Australian Banking Industry Ombudsman as a case manager. In 2009, she was appointed legal counsel with the Banking & Financial Services Ombudsman and remained in that position when it merged with other schemes to become the Financial Ombudsman Service Australia. In May 2018, Jacqueline was appointed an Adjudicator with FOS. 

Before joining the predecessor schemes to FOS, Jacqueline worked as a lawyer and then as a senior associate in the commercial litigation division of an international law firm, and as a corporate lawyer with one of the “big four” Australian banks.

Jacqueline holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne.

Andrew Weinmann

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.