2020–21 Annual Review

People and culture

AFCA’s People and Culture Strategy ensures we remain focused on attracting the best talent in our sector, with a culture that enables our people to deliver service outcomes consistently, including during times of rapid change and disruption.

Our focus

Culture at the Heart

Culture that drives the highest levels of engagement, accountability and performance across AFCA.

Capability at the Core

Fit-for-purpose frameworks and approaches for learning, capability, talent and leadership development across all levels.

Firm Foundations

Contemporary people-centric policies, processes, systems and risk management, coupled with meaningful data and reporting.

Care and Wellbeing

Proactive approaches and initiatives to support the ongoing health, safety and wellbeing of all employees.

Capability at the Core

AFCA employees come from a wide range of professional backgrounds, with strong representation from legal and financial services, dispute resolution and consumer sectors.

Our employees include lawyers, accountants, financial advisers, investigators, dispute resolution practitioners, industry specialists and data analysts.

Due to the significant increase in new employees at AFCA during the last 12 to 18 months, considerable focus has been given to capability uplift techniques, such as:

  • targeted recruitment programs to attract high-quality individuals who have experience and skills to deal with complex disputes
  • developing and delivering training to provide technical expertise
  • launching a Leadership Capability Framework (LCF) that articulates current and future capabilities, expectations and shared behaviours across all levels within AFCA
  • identifying complaints where a case worker may require assistance in forming a view more quickly
  • introducing Technical Quality Support Managers – specialist roles to provide quality
  • assurance reviews of written work, guidance in forming a view on a complaint and assistance with AFCA Approaches
  • developing tools to assist case workers to identify issues and articulate why a decision is fair
  • training of case management staff in mediation skills, so they can perform their own telephone conciliations
  • greater cross-collaboration between teams to identify trends and training opportunities
  • development of an enhanced quality assurance framework to ensure AFCA case reviews are targeted to our higher risk activities. This will allow our people to receive targeted quality assurance reviews, resulting in a reduction of time to resolution
  • development of specialist teams to support expertise in particular areas with greater access to specialist decision makers
  • a focus on grouping complaints with a single financial firm to case worker teams to support learning and increase efficiencies
  • creating a sessional ombudsman pool for greater agility to handle complaint spikes, particularly in areas requiring specialist expertise, such as superannuation.

Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

An approach to Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging was developed, and it will constitute a key pillar of AFCA’s culture development plan for the next three years.

Key priority areas have been identified as part of this approach, along with measurable objectives.

Highlights include the formation of the Accessibility and Inclusion Network, an employee-led initiative focused on areas such as LGBTIQA+, inclusion and reconciliation, along with a review of the employee journey and ‘moments that matter’ when it comes to inclusion.

Belonging has emerged as the key driver of engagement for our people in the last two employee experience surveys, and it’s pleasing to know that over 75% of employees feel they belong at AFCA and believe that leaders are genuinely committed to building a diverse workforce.


AFCA’s recruitment function has been transformed to the Recruitment, Careers and Employer Brand team – anchored by a strong commitment to putting the care and experience of our candidates and stakeholders at the centre of everything we do. To achieve this, we implemented a multi-year strategy and proactive business-partnering model with an executive search, corporate services and case work (volume) offering.

Performance and Development

Performance and Development at AFCA continues to evolve, with ongoing commitment to creating a more empowering experience for both leaders and employees. The new Performance and Development framework, launched in September 2020, reinforces contemporary, best practice elements of performance and development, including the introduction of performance goals for every function across AFCA (aligned to annual business planning), a simplified rating system, and a strong focus on coaching and feedback (aligned to AFCA’s Leadership Capability Framework).

At AFCA we promote an environment where the cultures, backgrounds and experiences of our employees are recognised and valued.

All female Lead Ombudsman group

In May 2021, AFCA announced the appointment of two new lead ombudsmen.

Emma Curtis took on the role of Lead Ombudsman – Insurance, and Suanne Russell became the new Lead Ombudsman – Small Business. This means for the first time, all five lead ombudsmen roles at AFCA, are now held by women, as well as that of Deputy Chief Ombudsman, which is held by Dr June Smith.

782 employees

51% of all leaders are women, including 52% of our senior leaders and 67% of our Board members

13% of our employees work part-time

35% of employees were born outside Australia

41% of employees identify as being culturally or linguistically diverse

6% of employees are people living with disability

0.7% of employees identified as Aboriginal Australians and/or Torres Strait Islanders

11% of employees identified as being part of the LGBTQIA+ community

Age breakdown of employees 1
Age breakdown of employees chart
Age Percentage
25–34 37%
35–44 29%
45–54 18%
55–64 10%
65–74 5%
Gender breakdown of employees
Gender breakdown of employees chart
Gender Percentage
Female 57%
Male 43%


Organisational chart

As at 30 June 2021

Click here for a text version of the organisational chart below.


AFCA Senior Leadership Group as at 30 June 2021

AFCA is led by an independent Chief Executive Officer and Chief Ombudsman, and supported by a strong Senior Leadership Group.

  • David Locke, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Ombudsman
  • Dr June Smith, Deputy Chief Ombudsman
  • Justin Untersteiner, Chief Operating Officer
  • Anna Campbell, General Counsel and Company Secretary
  • Silvia Renda, Chief Adviser to CEO and CO
  • Evelyn Halls, Lead Ombudsman – Banking and Finance
  • John Price, Lead Ombudsman – General Insurance
  • Natalie Cameron, Lead Ombudsman – Investments and Advice
  • Heather Gray, Lead Ombudsman – Superannuation
  • Diana Ennis, Executive General Manager – Resolution
  • Rob Guest, Executive General Manager – Operational Excellence
  • Michael Ridgway, Executive General Manager – Compliance, Risk, Policy and Compliance
  • Hazel Thurlow, Executive General Manager – People and Culture (concluded on 30 April 2021)
  • Brigid Parsonson, Executive General Manager – Finance, IT, PMO and Strategy
Decision makers as at 30 June 2021
Banking and finance

Lead Ombudsman

Evelyn Halls


  • Geoffrey Bant
  • David Brett
  • Jennifer English
  • Terri Gladwell
  • Damyon Lill
  • Jesse Marshall
  • Wes Pan
  • Alan Price
  • Larissa Shafir
  • Brenda Staggs


  • Andrea Barker
  • Carolyn Dea
  • Elizabeth Johnson
  • Maxwell Pringle
  • Christopher Siemers
  • Diana Tchorbanov
  • Susan Wan

Lead Ombudsman

John Price


  • Qasim Gilani
  • Timothy Griffiths
  • Christos Liamos
  • Christine McCarthy
  • Mark McCourt
  • Helen Moye
  • Donald O’Halloran
  • Michael Brett Young


  • Rebecca Clark
  • Brydie Cook
  • Jerome Hew
  • Daniel King
  • Stephanie Kouvas
  • Matthew O’Donoghue
Investments and advice

Lead Ombudsman

  • Natalie Cameron


  • Shail Singh
  • Nicolas Crowhurst
  • Ian Donald
  • Alexandra Sidoti
  • Michael Arnold

Lead ombudsman

  • Heather Gray


  • Jane Abbott
  • Vicki Carter
  • Anne Maree Howley
  • Justin Malbon
  • Benjamin Norman
  • Mervyn Silverstein
  • Ben Taylor
  • Ragini Rajadurai


  • Senthur Kugathasan


1 Percentages have been rounded, resulting in the total not equalling 100%.

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