Adjudicators perform a vital role at FOS making jurisdictional decisions and resolving disputes by making determinations under our Terms of Reference. With several new faces recently appointed by the FOS board, we asked our adjudicators a few questions so that FOS Circular readers can get to know them better.
We're featuring five adjudicators this issue. Stay tuned to meet more in a future Circular.
How long have you been an Adjudicator? Almost two years.
What did you do before you became an Adjudicator? I was a Case Manager, then a Team Manager in Banking & Finance at FOS. Before that, I lectured and tutored in law and before that, was a banking and finance lawyer.
What do you enjoy the most about your role? Everything!
What is the most challenging part of your role? Dealing with difficult parties to a dispute.
What are your interests outside work? I love to read and spend time with my family. I have also been forced by my two sons to develop an interest in football, cricket and every other sport.
How long have you been an Adjudicator? Eight months
What did you do before you became an Adjudicator? I was a Case Manager in the Financial Difficulty team for five years.
What do you enjoy the most about your role? I enjoy investigating unresolved disputes and coming to a fair outcome. I find it especially rewarding to get on the phone to talk to the parties to explain our approach and understand where they are coming from. I love the diversity of the role and the opportunity to give support and advice to case workers in the team.
What is the most challenging part of your role? It is challenging to be the last word on a dispute and to deliver unfavourable news.
What are your interests outside work? I volunteer my time with my husband at our local State Emergency Service (SES) unit helping with search and rescue, flood and storm damage.
How long have you been an Adjudicator? Nine months
What did you do before you became an Adjudicator? I was a Senior Case Manager at FOS for several years and prior to joining FOS I was an insurance litigation lawyer with a Melbourne law firm.
What do you enjoy the most about your role? Being impartial. As I am not invested emotionally or financially in either parties' position, I can assess the facts with an independent eye and determine an outcome which is fair in all the circumstances.
What is the most challenging part of your role? Being required to make decisions based only on the information provided, rather than being able to make external enquiries. In some cases, a party may not choose to (or may not be able to) provide critical information which could change the outcome of a dispute.
What are your interests outside work? Travelling, yoga, reading, spending time with family and friends.
How long have you been an Adjudicator? I was appointed to the Adjudicator role in May 2015.
What did you do before you became an Adjudicator? I was a Case Manager in the GI space at FOS, to which I had been appointed in 2010. Prior to that, after finishing my law degree and passing the bar I practiced law for a while. I then joined the general insurance industry with roles in motor/household claims, legal recoveries and the final role there was in dispute resolution before joining FOS.
What do you enjoy the most about your role? The thing I enjoy most about my role is the satisfaction I derive from being in a position where I can contribute to providing accurate, fair and informed decisions on disputes brought to FOS. It gives me great joy to be part of an organisation that provides the services we do to the general public as well financial services providers.
What is the most challenging part of your role? The most challenging part of my role is ensuring that the quality and accuracy of the decisions I make on disputes before me remains constant and consistent, despite the heavy workload and fulfilling other responsibilities that are associated with the role.
What are your interests outside work? Outside of work my interests include sports, both watching as well as playing. I follow the cricket very closely as well as continue to play for a cricket club here in Melbourne. I enjoy attending comedy shows/festivals and spending time with friends and family. Travelling to other countries to experience different cultures, their history and architecture as well as good food also sits high on the list of my interests.
How long have you been an Adjudicator? Since June 2014. I was one of the first two Adjudicators appointed to trial the Fast Track process.
What did you do before you became an Adjudicator? Before I worked at FOS, I worked in private practice, and then in legal and business roles at ANZ in Wellington and Melbourne. At FOS, I started as a Case Manager and became a Team Manager in Banking & Finance.
What do you enjoy the most about your role? Being able to put things right for people and ensure that they get justice. Helping parties to reach a resolution that both have agreed to is an important part of that.
What is the most challenging part of your role? We aim to resolve disputes so that parties can be happy with an outcome, or at least be able to live with it. However there are times in dispute resolution when not everyone will walk away happy with the outcome, especially when the parties have not been willing or otherwise able to reach common ground in our process. Having to manage parties’ expectations in this regard can sometimes be challenging.
What are your interests outside work? Reading, gardening and running.