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Alison Maynard

Chief Executive

It is with much pleasure, and in accordance with the Rules of the Financial

Industry Complaints Service that on behalf of the Board, Management and

staff of FICS, I present the Annual Review for the period ending 31 December 2003.

This year we have approached the Review a little differently, focusing on the Team at FICS and Resolving Financial Industry Complaints. Information on the activities of FICS during 2003, as well as our complaint statistics and case studies, are also included.

I hope you find our Annual Review interesting and informative and would welcome any comments, which should be forwarded to our National Relations Manager, Trevor Slater, who can be contacted on (03) 8623 2029 or email tslater@fics.asn.au.

Alison Maynard Chief Executive


2003 FICS ANNUAL REVIEW About the Service 2


Our Team at FICS 3 Investment concerns resolved The FICS Team 4 by formal Conciliation Conference 11 The FICS Complaints Process 9 The Conciliation Conference Process 10 Life Insurance 27 Panel Chair Report 12 Financial Planning 30 Panel Members 15 Statistical Summary 19 Stockbroking 32 Telephone Contacts 20 Managed Investments 35 Written Complaints 21


Life Insurance 25 Financial Planning 28 Stockbroking 31 Managed Investments 33 Chief Executive‘s Report 36 Chair of the Board’s Report 39

–  –  –

The Financial Industry Complaints Service Limited came into being on 26th October 1999. However, the underlying scheme has been in operation since 1991.

The Service resolves complaints relating to members of the financial services industry including life insurance, pooled superannuation trusts, managed investments, stockbroking, financial advice, investment advice and sales of financial investment products.

FICS was approved by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in October 1999 pursuant to ASIC Policy Statement 139 which provides the guidelines by which ASIC assess the Service for approval. The guidelines address the areas of accessibility, independence, fairness, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness.

The Service is governed by a Constitution and Rules. The Constitution sets out the objectives of the company and governs its operations. The Rules, on the other hand, provide the detail on how the Service will deal with complaints.

The Constitution of the company may only be changed at a General Meeting.

However, the Rules of the Service may be changed by the Board. ASIC must also be consulted when any changes to the Service’s Constitution or Rules are being considered.


“Providing an independent service resolving disputes between Members and Consumers fairly and efficiently.”

–  –  –


Alison Maynard has been the FICS Chief Executive since January 2001. Prior to this she was the National Operations Manager at Insurance Enquiries & Complaints Limited (IEC), the external dispute resolution scheme for the general insurance industry. She has also worked as a Director of the SIO Consumer Appeals Centre, Supervisor of Clinical Training at Leo Cussen Institute (Solicitor Training) and as a solicitor at the Coburg Legal Centre.

Alison holds a Bachelor of Jurisprudence and a Bachelor of Law from Monash University. She was admitted to legal practice in April 1982.

PANEL CHAIR Michael Arnold joined FICS in November 2003 and has extensive private legal practice experience. He was formerly Deputy President and Judge of the Accident Compensation Tribunal. More recently he held the positions of Referee, Alternate Panel Chair and Alternate Adjudicator with the General Insurance Enquiries and Complaints Scheme. He is also a parttime legal member of the Medical Practitioners Board.

Michael’s qualifications include Bachelor of Laws and Diploma of Public Policy – Public Sector Management. He has also undertaken studies in Japanese Law, Minerals Law, Industrial Relations Law and Mediation.


Denny Meadows has been National Operations Manager since October 2002. He has over 20 years experience as a lawyer. Over the 15 years prior to joining FICS he was a member of a number of different Government tribunals – the Social Securities Appeals Tribunal, the Mental Health Review Board, the Veterans Review Board and chaired the Victorian Legal Aid Panel of Independent Reviewers.

Denny has also worked in private practice as both a solicitor and a barrister and in Government positions, including serving as a Legal Officer with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.


Mike D’Argaville, who holds the qualifications of B.A. Hons, LL.B, started at FICS in October 2002 as a Panel Case Manager, and became Legal Services Manager in August 2003.

Before working for FICS, he has variously been a Case Manager and Senior Case Manager at IEC, a legal research officer and tribunal member for the Social Security Appeals Tribunal, and a solicitor.

He considers his legal and analytical skills, and familiarity with a range of legal and other dispute resolution forums, are his chief assets in supporting the Panel in its decision-making role.

–  –  –


Trevor Slater commenced with FICS in November 2001 as a Case Manager. He was appointed to his current role in September 2003. Before joining FICS he was the Negotiations Manager for AMP Life Ltd, which involved the resolution of high-level complaints. Prior to this he was a Visitation Officer for the Claims Unit of AMP. He has also conducted workshops on customer relations and complaint resolution.

Trevor is a qualified mediator and negotiator and holds a Graduate Diploma in Conflict Resolution from La Trobe University. He is also a Senior Associate of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance.


Lorraine Russell-Haddon has been the Membership Coordinator for FICS since June 2000.

She has performed various roles including serving as a stenographer with Lumley Life, Secretary/Personal Assistant to National Marketing Managers of Adler Triumph and CSR Limited (as well as several years as an Account Manager CSR), and lastly before joining FICS, a Risk Control Liaison Officer for Myer Melbourne for eight years.

Lorraine aptly fulfils this challenging role which involves communication with all levels of Members, acting as a conduit for any questions they may have regarding their membership with FICS and FICS Management, as well as ongoing liaison with ASIC and industry associations which may request assistance or input in respect to Members of FICS.


Kevin Haddon has been assisting the Membership Coordinator since October 2003. Prior to this position Kevin worked in the oil industry for over 19 years as a Wholesale Accountant and as a Territory Manager for eight years. From there he owned and operated a retail business (Newsagency, Post Office and Tattersall Agency) for 15 years.

Kevin’s administration, business and practical experience make him an asset in assisting the Membership Coordinator in attending to the requirements of FICS Members.


Robert Dane commenced with FICS in 2003 as the Enquiries Manager. In early 2004 he also took on the role of Technical Support and Enquiries Manager. Robert’s background is in the technical area of IT and before FICS he was involved with the EFT industry.

Robert has some very exciting ideas to better utilise the FICS IT systems, which will deliver benefits to the users of FICS services.

–  –  –


Nichola Brown, who is a qualified mediator, has been employed at FICS since mid 2003 as a member of the Conciliation Team. Prior to FICS she worked for AMP in various roles including service in the Complaints Management Team, dealing predominantly with dispute resolution and complaint analysis. She has extensive experience in complaint handling, negotiation and mediation and vast knowledge of the financial services industry.

Dennis Cooper has been with FICS since its very early days, when it was initially established by the life insurance industry. Prior to this he worked for many years for the AMP Society in customer service management. He has completed formal mediation training and qualified as a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance.

Andrea Joynes worked in the stockbroking industry for 11 years, and worked as a stockbroker for the last eight years. She has a Diploma in Financial Markets, Australian Securities Institute of Australia (ASIA) and joined FICS in mid 2002. Since that time Andrea has completed formal training in conciliation, mediation & negotiation, which has provided her with the skills to draw from when assisting parties to resolve their complaints.

Maureen Murrill joined FICS as a part-time Case Manager in September 2002. Maureen's background includes experience in stockbroking and as a business journalist/editor with national newspapers and magazines. As such she has extensive knowledge of the current and historical financial sector, in particular financial planning and stockbroking. She is also a qualified mediator and is an associate of ASIA.

Phillip Robinson commenced at FICS in April 2003. He has an LL.B and a BA majoring in History. Both were obtained at the University of Otago, NZ. He has also completed a Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning through ASIA. Phillip has experience in a variety of legal areas, including administrative law and financial services law, as well as investigating and resolving complex complaints, as an advocate, company representative and through working for an independent authority.

Alan Smith has extensive knowledge of the financial services industry having been with FICS since it was initially established. Prior to this he was in the life insurance industry for over 30 years, working in the areas of customer service management, superannuation, trusts, underwriting and claims.


Susan Haslam worked at the State Insurance Office as a motor and domestic underwriter 1988–1992. Whilst studying for a law degree at the University of Melbourne she worked for the State Trustees Limited (1992–2002) managing the financial and legal affairs of disabled persons. She has an LL.B (Melbourne) and was admitted to practice in March 2003 and started at FICS in April 2003.

Susan’s legal knowledge and experience in tribunals and in the insurance/financial sector, is of great benefit to FICS.

–  –  –


Ada Bombardieri has the qualifications of B.Comm., LL.B, M. Corp.Law and was admitted to practice in 1989 and worked as a solicitor until 2001 when she joined IEC as a Case Manager. In August 2003 she joined FICS as a Panel Case Manager. Ada brings to FICS a vast array of skills and knowledge in the fields of commercial law and external dispute resolution schemes.


Michael Ridgeway previously worked with the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (EWOV) for five years as the Manager Conciliation prior to being appointed as the Conciliation Manager with FICS. In these roles, Michael was responsible for investigating and conciliating complaints against Victorian energy and water providers, and was responsible for the operational management of the Conciliation team, and training and developing Conciliation staff. Most recently Michael has been working with ASIC in its Public and Commercial Services Directorate, where he has been responsible for assessing and investigating complaints involving corporate misconduct and breaches of corporations and financial services laws and regulations. Prior to working with the EWOV, Michael completed an Arts/Law degree at the University of Melbourne.

Dianne Comtesse joined FICS in May 2004. Prior to being appointed as a Conciliator with FICS, she previously worked at the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) as a Conciliator and Case Officer for three years. Her previous working background is in Local Government handling contentious planning disputes and waste management issues and in the Travel Industry for 15 years in various positions including handling complaints by both Corporate and holiday clients. Dianne has qualifications in Alternative Dispute Resolution, previously held Travel Management qualifications and Certificate 4 in Workplace Training and Assessing Cat II.

Alycia James joined FICS as a member of the Conciliation Team in October 2003. Prior to this she was employed as a conciliator with the EWOV. Her other employment background is in the Financial Counselling Welfare and Youth sectors. Alycia has a Diploma in Community Services – Welfare, Diploma in Community Services – Financial Counselling Certificate 4 in Workplace Training and Assessment. Since joining FICS, she has qualified as a mediator.


Brian Carpenter commenced with FICS in May 2004. He has worked mainly in the customer service/client liaison field, with experience in banking, finance, insurance and other related industries. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies from RMIT and is Tier 2 compliant under the FSRA. Brian's background in finance and insurance, combined with his customer service skills developed over the last 10 years, serves him well as an important contributor to the Enquiries Team.

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