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AFCA reveals new chair


Professor John Pollaers has been confirmed as the new chair of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

By Jotham Lian 9 minute read

The Swinburne University of Technology chancellor’s appointment by AFCA’s board of directors follows inaugural chair Helen Coonan’s end of term in May.

Professor John Pollaers is also the chair of the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council, and chair and founder of Leef Independent Living Solutions Pty Ltd. 

He was formerly chair of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce for the federal government, chair of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee, and a member of the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce.

Professor Pollaers said he was delighted to be joining the organisation, noting AFCA’s core purpose to deliver fair outcomes to members, consumers and small business.

“AFCA provides an essential service to the community. AFCA’s role to effectively work with financial firms, consumers and small businesses to resolve financial complaints, often in complex situations, is critical,” Professor Pollaers said. 

“I am delighted to be working alongside a committed and experienced board to support chief ombudsman and CEO David Locke as we continue to deliver on AFCA’s core purpose to provide fair and independent solutions for financial disputes, and support our members to raise standards and minimise disputes.”

Ms Coonan, whose tenure as chair oversaw 188,000 disputes with over $522 million being paid in compensation to individual consumers and small business owners, said Professor Pollaers would bring significant experience to AFCA.

“John is an experienced chair and leader whose career is characterised by a commitment to strong governance and visionary, strategic leadership,” Ms Coonan said.

“He has always created strong, effective relationships between industry, government and consumer bodies in all sectors he has been involved in. John’s independence and experience will be instrumental in driving AFCA’s vision to be a world-class ombudsman service into the future.

“John will make an excellent chair. I wish both John and the board well as they continue to deliver against AFCA’s vision and strategy.”

The AFCA board also paid tribute to Ms Coonan’s contribution as AFCA’s inaugural chair in helping to take over the work of the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, to provide a single external dispute resolution service.

“Helen has been an exceptional chair of AFCA over the last three years, establishing AFCA as an important national body, helping industry and thousands of consumers to resolve often intractable disputes,” AFCA stated.

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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian


Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.

Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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