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Issue 17 - May 2014

Chief Ombudsman's Message


The last couple of months have been a busy time for FOS and for many organisations in the financial sector. At FOS, our independent review was completed and we commenced work on a number of major changes. More broadly, many organisations in the financial sector were finalising their initial submissions to the Financial System Inquiry, which is due to release an interim report mid-year.

As we mentioned in our Special Circular last month, the FOS submission to the Financial System Inquiry emphasised the importance of the Inquiry putting trust at the centre of its recommendations, and retaining a focus on vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers. We also highlighted the important and trusted role that community financial counsellors and specialist community legal centres play in local communities. We continue to support the continuity of Federal Government funding for their important work. In our ‘Postcard from... the Northern Territory' you can read about the extraordinary distances travelled by financial counsellors in one of the most remote areas of Australia.

Back at FOS, we are going through a significant period of change and we are excited about a number of initiatives we are working on to improve our service.

In our January issue we talked about our focus to reduce our backlogs and improve the time taken to deal with new disputes. In this issue we give you more detail about the initiatives we are undertaking to help us deliver on FOS’s core promise of resolving disputes in a more timely, efficient and fair manner. Click here to read more about our:

  • fast track process
  • dispute process redesign
  • financial difficulty enhancement project
  • more effective decisions.


We are concerned that some financial services providers aren’t stopping collection activity when a dispute is lodged with us. This requirement is set out in our Terms of Reference, and is therefore a condition of FOS membership. You can read more here.

In this issue we hope you enjoy the opportunity to learn more about our new manager of Stakeholder Engagement and Communications, Veronica McGowan. You can read more about Veronica’s wealth of experience and strong history of community engagement here.

As always, if you have comments or suggestions about anything you read in the Circular, please let us know at



Shane Tregillis