The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has commenced the hiring process for an independent assessor, who will investigate the handling of disputes whenever a client or financial adviser is unhappy with a decision.
In December, a government-appointed panel called for the establishment of an independent assessor, arguing that FOS needs to be subject to more frequent independent reviews.
According to an advertisement on Seek.com.au, FOS has decided to appoint a part-time independent assessor to review complaints around the handling of disputes.
The assessor, however, will not be allowed to review the “substance” of a FOS decision.
“The independent assessor role is designed to enhance our existing internal complaints process by providing an additional independent review of complaints about FOS's service that have not been resolved through FOS's internal review process,” the ad states.
“The independent assessor will review complaints from individual consumers and financial firms on service issues relating to the handing of a dispute, and will not review the substance of a FOS decision.
“The independent assessor will not act as a review or appeal mechanism on the findings or outcomes of FOS decisions, or the substance of a dispute or jurisdictional decision.”
According to the ad, FOS is looking for someone with significant senior level experience in a legal firm, tribunal, external dispute resolution scheme, financial sector firm or government agency.
The candidate must also be able to command the respect of stakeholders within the financial sector and community as well as be comfortable with public scrutiny, the ad states.
The new role comes after the government-appointed panel also recommended that there be a single industry ombudsman scheme for financial credit and investment disputes to replace FOS and CIO.