The Financial Ombudsman Service is governed by an independent board of consumer representatives and financial services industry representatives. The role of the Board is to monitor the performance of the Financial Ombudsman Service, provide direction to the Ombudsman on policy matters, set the budget and review from time to time, the Terms of Reference including the jurisdictional limits of the Ombudsman.
The Board does not get involved in the detail of cases which come before the Ombudsman as that would prejudice the independence of the Ombudsman. The decisions of the Ombudsman are independent of any interference from the Board.
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Professor The Hon. Michael Lavarch AO, (Chair of the Board)
Michael Lavarch was appointed a Transition Director on incorporation of the company, for a term expiring on 31 May 2009, and when the new Board was formed on 1 June 2009 he was appointed a director and Independent Chair of the Board. He was reappointed as Chair of the Board on 20 February 2015 for a further three-year term commencing on 1 June 2015.
Michael is the Commissioner, Risk Analysis and Investigation, for the Australian Skills Quality Authority. Michael is formerly Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Queensland University of Technology. He is a former Federal Attorney-General and a former Secretary-General of the Law Council of Australia. He has extensive board experience, having held public and private company directorships, and is currently Chief Adjudicator of the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code adjudication panel.
In 2012, Michael was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to law, education and human rights.
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Robert was previously Group Executive, Personal Insurance at Suncorp from 2007 to 2008. Prior to that, he was simultaneously Chief Executive of Promina Direct Division from 2004 to 2007 and CEO of AAMI from 2002 to 2006. Robert started working for AAMI in 1970 as a Branch Officer in the Geelong office, working his way up through various operational then management roles, to eventually become CEO. He oversaw a period of great achievement for AAMI, including the awards: 2004 Australian and New Zealand General Insurer of the Year, and 2005/06 Customer Service CEO of the Year. Robert also has a Master of Business Administration.
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David Coorey was previously a consumer representative director of the Insurance Ombudsman Service. David is currently a senior lawyer with the Consumer Law team of the Civil Litigation section of the Legal Aid Commission of NSW, which he joined in 2002. He previously worked with the law firm Freehills over three years, including a one year pro bono secondment to Kingsford Legal Centre. David has worked in a variety of areas of civil law, including insurance, credit, consumer and trade practices litigation as well as human rights and discrimination law. Since commencing with the Legal Aid Commission, he has been actively involved in policy work in consumer law, with particular interest in policy issues that affect consumers of insurance products.
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Jennifer leads National Australia Bank's Product Regulation Resolution legal team. The team provides strategic and technical legal advice across the bank's Australian and Asian operations and plays a key role in identifying and managing legal risks. The team also manages major litigation and large scale non-litigious disputes. Jennifer has previously worked in private legal practice (including Mallesons in Melbourne and Linklaters in London) and in major Australian corporations (including Coles Myer). She has a corporate legal and executive background with extensive transactional, governance and regulatory experience. In addition to her role at NAB, Jennifer is Chair of Heide Museum of Modern Art and from 2006 to 2011 was a director of St Vincents & Mercy Private Hospital. She has recently joined the newly created St Vincent's Advisory Council (Melbourne).
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Carmel Franklin has been involved with consumer issues for a number of years, including as the Director of Care Financial Counselling and the Consumer Law Centre of the ACT, as the Chair of Financial Counselling Australia and through her role on the boards of the National Information Centre on Retirement Investments and the Welfare Rights and Legal Centre. In addition to these positions, she is a member of the ATO Individual Tax Advisory Forum and a former member of the ASIC Consumer Advisory Panel as well as the FOS Consumer Liaison Group.
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Elissa has advocated for consumers’ rights in the financial services, telecommunications, energy and water industries in her previous roles at CHOICE, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. She has represented consumers at the ASIC Consumer Advisory Panel, the ACCC Consumer Consultative Committee and as a Council member of the Energy and Water Ombudsman of NSW. Elissa was previously Chair of the Financial Rights Legal Centre (then the Consumer Credit Legal Centre of NSW) and a committee member of the Women and Girls Emergency Centre.
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Louise Lakomy is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) who has recently retired from the Board of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) after serving the maximum term of six years. In her current role she is a Senior Financial Planner with Crystal Wealth Partners and prior to 2014 was an Executive Financial Planner with Westpac Private Bank. She is formerly a member of the Financial Planning Education Council and the FPA’s Professionalism Committee. Louise also holds a Masters of Business Administration.
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Catriona Lowe was appointed a Consumers’ Director on 1 June 2009 and reappointed on 20 February 2015 for a further three-year term commencing on 1 June 2015.
Catriona is a member of the Boards of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and Legal Practice Liability Committee. She is also Treasurer of the Consumers’ Federation of Australia and Chair of the ACCC Consumer Consultative Committee.
She is formerly the Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Action Law Centre and before joining Consumer Action, she was a Director in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Policy and Liaison Branch. Catriona was Deputy Director and the first Principal Solicitor of the legal practice at Consumer Law Centre Victoria and spent five years in private practice as a litigation lawyer.
Catriona has also served as a member of the Board of the National Information Centre on Retirement Investment, a member of ASIC’s External Advisory Panel, a member of the NAB Social Responsibility Advisory Council, a member of the Insurance Council of Australia Consumer Reference Group and a member of the Motor Car Traders’ Guarantee Fund Claims Committee.