NFO Head Ombud Appointment

Publication Date: 10/04/2024

Valued staff and stakeholders,

The Ombud Council granted recognition, effective from 1 March 2024 to the National Financial Ombud Scheme (NFO) as an industry ombud scheme under the Financial Sector Regulation Act 2017. This marked a significant change in the landscape of financial ombud schemes. It culminates in the amalgamation of four predecessor industry schemes: The Credit Ombud Association, The Ombudsman for Banking Services, The Ombudsman for Long-term Insurance and The Ombudsman for Short-term Insurance.

The NFO is established principally to conduct the business of an industry ombud scheme – to receive, investigate and resolve complaints against any participant to the NFO scheme rules – and in that way protect and promote financial customer rights in relation to financial institutions, products and services.

With the establishment and coming into operation of the NFO, I am pleased to share that Reana Steyn has been appointed to the newly-created position of Head Ombud for the NFO.

Why a Head Ombud for the NFO?

The amalgamation of four predecessor financial ombud schemes required a bold step of uniting the four 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 chief executive officer. This role will involve, amongst 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 is also to oversee all the shared services functions of the new scheme, to work with and support the four divisional Lead Ombuds of the predecessor industry schemes, and bring together talent that will serve the interests of all stakeholders of the NFO.

For the past 7 years, Reana has served as Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS), and prior to that, she was the Deputy Credit Ombud. She also served as the first legal advisor at the National Credit Regulator. Reana’s extensive expertise and vast experience with the OBS, Credit Ombud and at one of the leading insurers, as well as her leadership position, her qualification as an attorney, coupled with her people management experience and training of staff of the predecessor industry schemes, provide her with a unique perspective and skillset that I have no doubt will serve her well in this new role. Her 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.

Reana 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 towards all its stakeholders.

The institution of the NFO has a vital role to play in protecting and promoting the rights of all participating stakeholders, the rule of law and good governance. Reana is rightly very highly regarded within the financial industry and I am confident that she will continue to be a champion of these great principles.National Financial Ombud Scheme South Africa NPC.

Registration Number 2023/162407/08 JHB Physical Address: 110 Oxford Road, Houghton Estate, Illovo, Johannesburg, 2198 CPT Physical Address: Claremont Central Building, 6th Floor, 6 Vineyard Road, Claremont, 7708

Tel: 0860-800-900.

The board of the NFO is confident that Reana will stand up to this new task and continue to execute her work with diligence and an absolute sense of justice and impartiality. We wish Reana success in her new responsibility and assure her of our support at all times.

Please join me in congratulating Reana and welcoming her to the role.

Haroon Y Laher
Chairperson of the Board
9 April 2024