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AFCA recruits consumer advocate to board

Appointments

The financial complaints body replaces an inaugural member with a lawyer and policy specialist.

By Philip King 10 minute read

The AFCA has appointed former Consumer Action Law Centre CEO Gerard Brody to its independent board, effective from 4 May.

AFCA chair Professor John Pollaers said Mr Brody’s valuable expertise would be an asset to the independent board of the financial complaints body.

“Mr Brody brings to the board his policy, regulatory, legal and consumer experience,” he said. “He has a thorough understanding of the contemporary challenges facing consumers and firms.”

“The board is committed to ensuring that AFCA continues be an effective external dispute resolution scheme for financial services, with a focus on efficiency, customer service and providing clear member and community value.”

“Mr Brody’s broad experience will be invaluable as AFCA delivers against these goals.”

Mr Brody has worked as a lawyer, policy officer and consumer advocate for 20 years. He was the CEO of the Consumer Action Law Centre, a leading consumer advocacy organisation that provides legal assistance and financial counselling, for 10 years until February 2023.

He is also an experienced director. He has been on the board of the Energy & Water Ombudsman Victoria since 2014, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman since 2022, and Community Legal Centres Australia, the peak body for community legal centres, since 2021.

In addition, he is the chair of the Consumers’ Federation of Australia, the peak body for consumer organisations in Australia.

Mr Brody said he was looking forward to working on the AFCA.

“Dispute services like AFCA are critical to consumer protection in Australia,” he said. “Not only do they help resolve complaints quickly and fairly, but they also look to improve the marketplace for everyone by raising standards and improving internal practices to avoid disputes in the first place.”

“I’m excited about contributing to AFCA and its vision of being a trusted and world-class ombudsman service that meets the needs of our diverse community.”

The AFCA board comprises independent and expert directors with extensive financial services industry and consumer experience.

With eight members, led by an independent chair, it brings together a breadth of knowledge across banking and finance, insurance, investments and advice, and superannuation.

The AFCA provides free, fair and independent help with financial disputes for consumers and small businesses and their financial firms. Its dispute resolution scheme is on track to register 100,000 complaints this financial year and has secured $1 billion for complainants since its inception in November 2018.

The AFCA replaced FOS, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal in November 2018.

Mr Brody replaces Elissa Freeman, who served on the predecessor Financial Ombudsman Service’s board and then the inaugural AFCA board for around nine years.

The AFCA board has extended the term of Jennifer Darbyshire, also a founding board member, who has extensive senior executive experience in governance, law and risk across a range of sectors.


 

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Philip King

Philip King

AUTHOR

Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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