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Docklander - July 2012

03 Jul 2012

Docklander - July 2012 Image

Docklands’ money man

There wouldn’t be too many people in Australia who know more about money that Docklander Shane Tregillis.

The Chief Ombudsman of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has been working in Docklands for about nine months now and is slowly warming to the place.

Where most of us look at Docklands as a remarkable achievement, Mr Tregillis spent the first decade of the 21st century in Singapore and has witnessed what is possible in urban renewal projects.

But, being diplomatic about his new working home, he chooses his words carefully and, rather than being critical, hints at “lost opportunities” and concedes that Docklands is a “work in progress”.

“It takes a bit of adjusting to,” he said.  But he was also quick to praise the progress in available services to his office location at 717 Bourke St in the nine months that he has been there.

“The increase in the number of coffee shops and other outlets around this building means it is much more lively,” he said. “It’s great to have places where we can walk to.  So it’s starting to get there.”

“The most recent exciting news for me is the suggestion of a ferry service.  If Docklands was to became a commuting hub, that would add a very exciting dimension.”

Mr Tregillis returned to Melbourne from Singapore in 2010 after holding the position of deputy managing director (market conduct) of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), where he was responsible for capital market and business conduct regulation.

He then briefly worked as a commissioner at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) before putting his hand up for the financial ombudsman’s job.

He has always worked in financial regulation and well understands the need for the trust and confidence of both consumers and financial institutions if the ombudsman’s office is to be effective.

“We are in partnership,” he said. “To operate effectively we are a body that has to have the confidence and trust of both consumers and financial services providers.”

The Financial Ombudsman Service is an independent company self-funded by membership levies and case fees (but is free to consumers).  It covers about 80 per cent of disputes in Australia over banking, investment or insurance issues.

Last year FOS handled about 30,000 disputes, with a clear emphasis on encouraging the parties to settle their differences before contacting the ombudsman.

The service moved to Docklands so it could accommodate its 270 staff which came together from a merger nearly four years ago of a number of related ombudsman offices.

“We are well and truly settled in Docklands now,” Mr Tegillis said.

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