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Govt announces panel members for FOS scrutiny

The government has named the members of a new independent expert panel, which will lead a review of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and other industry dispute resolution providers.

In a statement, Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer said the government is commissioning a review of the role, powers, governance and accountability of the existing financial system external dispute resolution and complaints framework.

At the same time, ASIC will undertake a separate review of FOS's small business jurisdiction.

ifa reported in February that FOS has had to defend itself against allegations of biased conduct.

"Currently, there are three bodies to help consumers resolve disputes with financial services providers: the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS); the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal; and the Credit and Investments Ombudsman," she said.

"The government is committed to ensuring that these bodies are working as effectively as possible to meet the needs of users."

The panel will be chaired by Ian Ramsay, professor of commercial law at the University of Melbourne. He is also a member of the Law Council of Australia and currently serves on its corporations law committee, the statement said.


Julie Abramson, a lawyer and commissioner of the Productivity Commission, will join as a panel member alongside Alan Kirkland, who is the chief executive of Choice and has experience in consumer advocacy.

"The expert panel brings a wealth of regulatory, consumer and legal experience to the review and will provide a final report to the Government by the end of 2016," Ms O'Dwyer said.

"In undertaking the review, the expert panel will consult with industry, the dispute resolution and complaints schemes, peak bodies, regional and consumer representatives and other stakeholders.

"This review builds on the government's response to the Financial System Inquiry which set out a broad ranging suite of policies to improve our financial system."