About Us

The IFSO Scheme resolves complaints about insurance & financial services. Find out about the IFSO Scheme structure, Commission, and international networks.

Since 1995, the IFSO Scheme has provided a free and independent service for thousands of consumers. Each year we respond to over 3,000 complaint enquiries and resolve about 300 complaints.

The IFSO Scheme has been approved by the Minister of Consumer Affairs to provide an external disputes resolution service for consumers with complaints about their financial service providers. Financial service providers are required to belong to a dispute resolution scheme. The IFSO Scheme has over 4,000 Participants. We can only formally investigate a complaint if it is about a Participant of our Scheme. The IFSO Scheme is funded through Participant fees and levies.

With a background in law and alternative dispute resolution, Karen Stevens was appointed as the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman in 1998. She is a qualified arbitrator and mediator, with her most recent qualification being a Masters in law from LaTrobe University in Melbourne, majoring in conflict resolution.

Karen is a founding member and on the Executive Committee of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association (ANZOA), the professional association and peak body for Ombudsmen in Australia and New Zealand. She is a member and former Chair of the International Network of Financial Services Ombudsman Schemes (INFO Network).

The IFSO is appointed by the IFSO Scheme Commission.

Karen Stevens

Sue Suckling


  • Chair, Jacobsen Pacific Ltd
  • Chair, Jade Software
  • Director, Sky City Entertainment Group (NZX)
  • Chairperson, Rubix Limited
  • Chairperson, Taska Prosthetic Limited
  • Director, APHG Limited

Dr Pushpa Wood, ONZM

Consumer Representative

  • Director, Westpac Massey University Financial Education and Research Centre
  • Former Education Manager, Commission for Financial Capability
  • Board Member, FinCap
  • Trustee, Gwen Tyan Educational Trust
  • New Zealand Order of Merit for services to financial literacy and interfaith relations.

Teresa Tepania-Ashton, ONZM

Consumer Representative

  • UNICEF Aotearoa's Director of Advocacy and Programmes
  • Chair, Kahukuraariki Trust
  • AKINA Steering Group member
  • Director, Power Finance Limited
  • New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and business

Kendall Flutey

Consumer Representative

  • Founder and CEO of financial education platform Banqer
  • Young New Zealander of the Year (2019)
  • Young Māori Business Leader of the Year (2018)
  • Digital Council of Aotearoa member
  • Board Member, FMA
  • Trustee of Booster Foundation

Rob Hennin

Industry Representative

  • CEO and Director, nib NZ Ltd
  • Former General Manager World Markets, Insurance
  • Former CEO, American Express Banking Corporation India
  • Former NZ Country Manager American Express & Vice President for American Express Australia.
  • Board Member, World Nomads Travel (Europe) Limited
  • Director, Nuo ban Business Information Consulting (Shanghai)
  • Director, Kangaroo Technologies Co Limited
  • Chairman, Aohua Insurance Consulting Limited

Blair Turnbull

Industry Representative

  • CEO of Tower
  • Former Managing Director, Digital & Retail, UK & International at Aviva
  • Former Executive General Manager, Wealth and Insurance at ASB Bank
  • Board member, Insurance Council of New Zealand

Amanda Savill

Industry Representative

  • CEO of PIC Insurance Brokers
  • Former CEO Loan Market New Zealand

IFSO Scheme Commission

The IFSO Scheme Commission is made up of:

  • an independent Chairperson
  • three Commission Members with experience in the financial services industry
  • three Commission Members who have an interest in and are knowledgeable about consumer interests

The IFSO Scheme Commission governs the IFSO Scheme, monitors its operations and approves the budget.

IFSO & Staff

The IFSO Karen Stevens and Deputy Ombudsman Louise Peters lead a team of Case Managers, with expertise in dispute resolution, law and the financial services industry. The IFSO Scheme team have legal and dispute resolution skills. They can offer a range of solutions to consumers and Participants to assist in resolving complaints. Alongside the Case Managers, there are dedicated first contact staff, a membership team, and communications manager.

The IFSO Scheme Constitution sets out the governance structure of the IFSO Scheme, establishes the IFSO Scheme Commission, and provides for the appointment of the IFSO. The Constitution also sets out the obligations of IFSO Scheme Participants.

The Terms of Reference sets out the IFSO Scheme’s jurisdiction, including the types of complaints that can be investigated, monetary limits, resolution methods and decision making criteria.

Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association (ANZOA)

Karen Stevens is a founding member and on the Executive Committee of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association (ANZOA). Established in 2003, ANZOA is the professional association and peak body for Ombudsmen in Australia and New Zealand. ANZOA's members are individual Ombudsmen working in not-for-profit industry-based, parliamentary and other statutory offices, which meet accepted high standards of independence, impartiality and effectiveness, and which observe the Benchmarks for Industry-Based Customer Dispute Resolution (CDR Benchmarks). See: www.anzoa.com.au

INFO Network

The IFSO Scheme is a member of the International Network of Financial Services Ombudsman Schemes (the INFO Network), a worldwide association established in late 2007. Karen Stevens is a former Chair of the INFO Network. Members are Ombudsman schemes and offices operating as independent, out-of-court dispute resolution mechanisms in the financial services sector. INFO Network members provide dispute resolution services for consumers (and, in some cases, small businesses) who have not been able to resolve a matter directly with their financial service provider in the areas of banking, investments, insurance, credit, financial advice and pensions. The overall aim of the INFO Network is for members to work together to develop their expertise in dispute resolution, by exchanging experiences and information. See: www.networkfso.org