National Financial Ombud Scheme appoints its first Head Ombud

National Financial Ombud Scheme’s head ombud, Reana Steyn

National Financial Ombud Scheme’s head ombud, Reana Steyn

Published Apr 11, 2024


THE just over a month-old National Financial Ombud Scheme (NFO) yesterday announced the appointment of its first head ombud, Reana Steyn.

The NFO started operations on March 1 as an independent body that resolves complaints brought by consumers against South African financial institutions – for free.

The one-stop, all-in-one dispute resolution service is made up of the four former services: Ombudsman for Banking Services; the Credit Ombud; the Ombudsman for Long-Term Insurance and the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance.

NFO board chairperson Haroon Laher said Steyn’s extensive expertise and vast experience with the OBS, Credit Ombud and at one of the country’s leading insurers, her leadership positions, qualification as an attorney, coupled with her people management experience and training of staff of the previous schemes, provided her with a unique perspective and skill set.

“I have no doubt this will serve her well in this new role,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Steyn holds BCom (Law) and LLB degrees and is an admitted attorney, having spent about nine years at the international firm of Norton Rose Fulbright, before she entered the credit, regulatory compliance and, in 2010, the ombuds world. She was the first woman to hold the position of Ombudsman for Banking Services.

Before her appointment as Lead Ombudsman for Banking Services in 2017, Steyn held positions such as the Deputy Credit Ombud, senior manager in the regulatory and compliance services division at KPMG, was the first legal adviser at the National Credit Regulator, as well as a legal adviser for a leading insurance company.

“Reana’s track record, armed with her experience in investigations and complaints in the credit and banking sectors, gives credence to her appointment as the head ombud of the NFO.

“She is bestowed with the task of establishing this new office and role to build an effective financial ombud scheme. In doing so, she will identify and deliver initiatives that will improve the performance and outcomes of the NFO for all its stakeholders,” said Laher.

“The amalgamation of the four predecessor financial ombud schemes required a bold step of uniting the schemes and their staff in the direction of the NFO’s new mission.

“The board resolved to have a role dedicated to leading the NFO as a head ombud and CEO. This role will involve, among others, developing and implementing the NFO’s strategy and objectives. More importantly, the head ombud will represent the NFO to all its stakeholders.”

The role of the head ombud includes overseeing all the shared services and functions of the new scheme, working with and supporting the four divisional lead ombuds, and bringing together talent that will serve the interests of all stakeholders of the NFO.