Dispute Resolution Conference | 12 September 2017 | Sydney

The CIO Dispute Resolution Conference 2017 was held on 12 September 2017 at the Hilton Sydney.

The comprehensive one-day program offered delegates a mix of presentations, workshops, industry sector specific Q & A sessions, and panel discussions on internal and external dispute resolution issues including:

  • CIO process
  • Responsible lending
  • Responsible lending for small amount lenders
  • Financial hardship
  • Debt collection and privacy
  • Systemic issues
  • Unfair contract terms


Raj Venga
Chief Executive & Ombudsman

Credit and Investments Ombudsman

Raj Venga was appointed as the Ombudsman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Credit and Investments Ombudsman in October 2006.

Raj has been a senior legal professional for over 20 years with considerable financial services experience, both as an in-house lawyer and as the Executive Director of the Australian Association of Permanent Building Societies.

Michael Saadat
Senior Executive Leader
Deposit Takers, Credit & Insurers

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Michael Saadat is Senior Executive Leader for ASIC's Deposit Takers, Credit and Insurers team and ASIC's Regional Commissioner for New South Wales.

Michael's team has primary responsibility for oversight of retail banking, insurance companies, mortgage and finance brokers, and electronic payment providers. Michael's team also includes ASIC's Indigenous Outreach Program.

Prior to this, Michael worked as Director and Head of Compliance for Citigroup's Consumer Bank in Australia. He has also previously worked at ASIC as a senior lawyer and senior manager, and as a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in London and Sydney.

Michael has Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Macquarie University, a Master of Laws from the London School of Economics, and an Executive MBA from Melbourne Business School.

Karen Cox

Financial Rights Legal Centre


Karen Cox is the Coordinator of the Financial Rights Legal Centre in Sydney which provides free information, advice, education, and legal assistance in relation to credit and debt to NSW consumers, and in relation to insurance, to consumers across Australia. Trained in law, Karen spent the best part of 14 years as a solicitor and legal educator in the community legal sector. In addition to managing the Financial Rights Legal Centre, Karen advocates to the government and in the media for improvements in the law and financial services industry practice to assist consumers, especially disadvantaged consumers.

Sue Fraser
Senior Manager - Enterprise Partnerships

Kildonan Uniting Care

Sue Fraser leads Kildonan UnitingCare’s training and consulting team, working with business, local government and community agencies to achieve better outcomes for vulnerable customers.

Sue has over 30 years’ experience working in the welfare sector across Victoria and Australia. During this time she has pioneered work that addresses disadvantage, and builds on the strength of vulnerable consumers. Sue’s work has been recognised with two Prime Minister’s Award to Kildonan for Community Business Partnerships and directly through a personal award of the Centenary Medal for her outstanding services to the community.

Sue is committed to the principles of social justice, access and equity. Her work focuses on early intervention, prevention and support programs that are suitable for consumers that will develop sustainable outcomes for individuals, community and business.

In leading Kildonan’s consulting activities, Sue has worked with many for-profit, government and not for profit organisations to develop a raft of programs to identify, support and assist consumers who may be vulnerable or in financial hardship.

Sue also manages Kildonan’s Horses for Hope program, an equine-assisted therapeutic approach using horse and human connection to address the needs of both. Horses for Hope delivers one-on-one client work and corporate team building programs.

Nina Harding

Nina Harding Mediation Service

Nina Harding is a Nationally Accredited Mediator and Facilitator with more than twenty years experience. Nina is a law graduate and has a Master of Laws. She has mediated more than two thousand business disputes in a variety of areas. She is the Australian Film Code Conciliator, a Facilitator for the Commonwealth Ombudsman, a NSW Workers Compensation Mediator, a NSW Farm Debt Mediator and a Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre mediator. Nina is the owner of FrontlineComplaints.com which provides online complaint handling training for call centres in Australia and NZ. She has taught complaint handling, negotiation and dispute resolution to thousands of people in the financial sector in Australia and overseas. Nina is one of the authors of the Workplace Conflict Guide available on iTunes.  Nina has taught at numerous universities including; The University of Sydney, La Trobe and Hong Kong University. For more information see www.ninaharding.com.

Kevin Foo
Senior Manager
Deposit Takers, Credit & Insurers

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Kevin is a Senior Manager in ASIC's Deposit Takers, Credit and Insurers stakeholder team.  Kevin has over 10 years of regulatory experience and has worked in areas of consumer credit, corporate governance and general enforcement work. Kevin was part of the  team responsible for investigating breaches of the National Credit Act when it was introduced in July 2010. More recently, Kevin was seconded to ASIC's Chief Legal Office where he worked as the Commission Secretary responsible for managing the governance affairs of the Commission. Prior to ASIC, Kevin was a solicitor working in general litigation and dispute resolution.

Kevin holds a current legal practising certificate and a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Business (Finance) from the University of Technology, Sydney and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance from the Governance Institute of Australia

Matt Angell
Chief Operating Officer

Credit Corp Group

Matt Angell is the Chief Operating Officer of the Credit Corp Group, a leading debt collection and consumer finance company in Australia, employing over 1,500 staff within its operations. Credit Corp’s debt purchase operation is presently collecting on 700,000 overdue accounts totalling approximately $6 billion in outstanding balances and Credit Corp’s lending business presently receives over 30,000 loan applications per month.

Matt has degrees in Engineering and IT and prior to entering financial services worked as a software engineer, leading software development and computer games production teams in Australia and the USA.

Richard Symes

Credit Repair Australia

Richard Symes is currently the CEO of Credit Repair Australia, a company he founded more than 13 years ago.

His qualifications include:

  • Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning)
  • Total Quality Management
  • Organisation and Methods Analysis
  • Production and Industrial Engineering

Richard is also a long standing member of the Institute of Management, Stafford UK.

He has experience in insurance, manufacturing, Insolvency and credit restoration. Companies included Mercantile Mutual, Unilever, Pepsi Foods, Utilux and Fox Symes. He is also the current Chairman of the Personal Insolvency Professionals Association.

Workshop presenters

Allison Dam
Head of Risk and Compliance

Credit and Investments Ombudsman

Allison Dam was admitted as a solicitor in 2003. Allison commenced work at CIO in 2008 managing CIO’s Case Management team before moving to Risk and Compliance in 2013. Before commencing work at CIO, Allison was a solicitor in a law firm providing mortgage documentation and settlement services for bank and non-bank lenders.

Tim Gough
Deputy Ombudsman

Credit and Investments Ombudsman


Tim Gough has been the Deputy Ombudsman at CIO since April 2016.

For 11 years from 2005, Tim held various senior roles at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), specialising in consumer credit and banking, insurance and regulatory and compliance work. 

Prior to joining ASIC he was a consumer advocate, initially at the Consumer Credit Legal Service (Vic) then as Principal Solicitor of the Consumer Law Centre of the ACT. 

James Beaumont
Senior Manager - Financial Hardship 

Credit and Investments Ombudsman 

James Beaumont is the Senior Manager of the Financial Hardship Team at the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO).  He has been with CIO since 2012 and is responsible for the organisation’s Financial Hardship process and strategy, with particular focus on stakeholder engagement and managing the Hardship Team’s productivity, quality and timelines.    

James has been involved in dispute resolution in the financial services industry since 2007 with a focus on consumer advocacy, having worked as a long-time paralegal and trainee solicitor with well respected consumer advocates in Queensland, prior to moving to the Ombudsman.

James is a lawyer and qualified mediator who holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of International Business (majoring in finance and economics).

Christine Amanatidis
Senior Manager - Privacy and Debt Collection

Credit and Investments Ombudsman

Christine moved from Canada in 2013 and commenced work at CIO in 2014. She joined the Privacy and Debt Collections team and is currently leading the team.

Jane Wilburn
Senior Manager – Systemic Issue Investigations

Credit and Investments Ombudsman

Jane Wilburn has been with CIO since 2013 and has been the Senior Manager for systemic issue investigations since April 2017.

Mary Zakaria
Senior Manager Dispute Resolution 

Credit and Investments Ombudsman


Mary Zakaria was admitted as a solicitor in 2003.  Mary commenced working with CIO in 2014 and is a Senior Manager of one of the Credit Teams.

Before commencing work at CIO, Mary was a senior solicitor at a law firm providing general insurance advice to major insurers across Australia.

Jayd Raffoul Case Manager 

Credit and Investments Ombudsman


Jayd Raffoul is a case manager in the credit team at the Credit and Investments Ombudsman. She has been with the CIO since 2016, and deals mainly with complaints involving small amount credit lenders.

Prior to commencing at CIO, she worked in a community legal centre as an advocate, team leader and then generalist solicitor.

Jayd completed her combined Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce Degrees at Macquarie University in 2014, obtained a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the Australian National University in 2014, and was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2015. She has also completed the LEADR mediation course.

Aishah Zabidin

Senior Manager – Dispute Resolution

Credit and Investments Ombudsman


Aishah Zabidin is a Senior Manager – Dispute Resolution at CIO, and leads one of the five general credit dispute resolution teams.  Aishah has been with CIO since 2015. A qualified solicitor, she previously worked in private practice with a focus on banking and finance transactional work, and also has public sector experience.  She holds a Bachelor of Laws with Honours.


Accreditation (CPD hours)

MFAA members will be accredited 6 MFAA CPD hours for attending this event. FBAA members will be accredited 8 FBAA CPD hours of education.  Contact the CIO Membership Office for accreditation codes.

Review of our previous Conferences

Accommodation offers

Conference delegates can take advantage of special rates. Delegates will receive 10-15% off the best rate at the following hotels: