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Under the spotlight -Jamie Orchard

 

Jamie Orchard heads FOS's Specialist Resolution Group as its Executive General Manager.

The Specialist Resolution Group (SRG) conducts detailed investigations and decision-making on disputes that can't be resolved by agreement. It also includes the Specialist Conciliation team and the Systemic Issues team.

Approximately 150 staff members work across the SRG’s five teams.

Jamie joined FOS nine months ago. He has a background in financial services regulation and worked for over 12 years at ASIC where he became a Director of Enforcement. In that role, Jamie was responsible for ASIC investigations and litigation across Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

He also has extensive work experience in the Middle East - in Dubai and Qatar.

Jamie was the Managing Director of Enforcement at the Dubai Financial Services Authority and then moved to Qatar where he was the Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of Legal and Regulatory Compliance at the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority.

He probably has the longest commute between work and home of any FOS employee – Jamie divides his time between Melbourne and his home in Brisbane where he lives with his wife and their three children.

Q.  While in the Middle East you had the opportunity to develop experience in new areas. Tell us more about that.

A: 

I suppose the most obvious example is my work in developing regulatory frameworks for Islamic Finance, especially in respect of prudential obligations. Islamic finance products are fundamentally different to traditional products so the prudential requirements that would normally apply simply wouldn’t work with Islamic products.

We needed to develop a different framework that allowed for the application of international standard prudential requirements that would allow for both traditional and Islamic finance products. To that end, in Dubai I wrote the Islamic Finance Rule Book and the prudential standards which were unique in that they integrated Islamic products with traditional products in a combined prudential model. When I moved to Qatar we developed a modified form of the framework for application there.

Q: Did you develop expertise in any other specific areas while in the Middle East?

A:

Well, apart from learning the language, I did a lot of work in the field of anti-money laundering. I developed Rule Books in this area and spoke on the topic at various international conferences.

Q: Maladministration in lending (lending money to consumers who don’t have the capability to repay the funds) continues to be a big issue in disputes being lodged with FOS. Do you think greater education of FSPs is needed to prevent the issue from occurring? 

A:

Maladministration in lending continues to represent a significant proportion of our work in the Specialist Resolution Group. Credit matters represent about 50% of the work that comes to FOS and maladministration forms a major part of that.

We do a lot of work with lending institutions in respect of this issue in the hope that they will better understand and take into account our approaches when they are considering matters internally. This should assist in reducing the number of disputes in this area. In April we are starting to publish Determinations made by our Banking and Finance Ombudsmen and we think this will also provide greater guidance for the institutions.

Q: What has been FOS’s greatest achievement since you arrived?

A

That’s difficult to answer as there have been so many. They range from some of the specific resolutions that have been achieved in particular disputes through to broader issues such as improvements in process or the staging of the very successful FOS Conference.

Ultimately, for me, the single greatest achievement relates to the attitude of the staff at FOS. FOS staff have faced a significant increase in workload and constant pressure that comes from handling disputes that can have such an enormous financial and emotional impact on those involved. Despite this, they continue to enthusiastically go about their task in resolving disputes as fairly and efficiently as possible. I think that is, on a daily basis, a great achievement.

Q: What will your Group’s key focus be for the next 12 months?

A:

From an SRG point of view, we want to continue to focus on working closely with the parties to resolve disputes as fairly and efficiently as we can.

We are in the process of implementing some significant changes to our processes and over the next twelve months we will make sure they are delivering the improvements we expect.

In particular, we will be engaging with parties more by telephone than we have in the past, and where we do communicate in writing, we will try to do so electronically wherever possible.

We want to ensure there’s a common understanding between the parties of the issues to be resolved, the information we need in order to resolve them, and the timeframes we want to work within. We believe this will allow us to achieve a fair outcome faster and that is in the interests of all parties.

Beyond these specific improvements, we will continue to monitor our processes to identify any additional opportunities for improvement.

Q: What do you like doing outside of work?

A:

Commuting to Queensland keeps me pretty busy! When I am in Queensland I tend to spend a lot of time on the beach as I still have family on the Gold Coast. I also like to keep fit so I do a lot of running and spend plenty of time in the gym.

Being in Melbourne during the week without my family gives me time to work on my doctoral thesis on the topic of ‘Natural Justice in External Dispute Resolution Schemes’.

Q: What motivates you professionally?

A:

For me it has always been about not only doing interesting work but work that I honestly feel makes a difference – that in some way contributes to society. My current role is certainly a continuation of that.

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