Raj Venga was for many years - 2006 to 2018 - the CEO and Ombudsman of the Credit and Investments Ombudsman until it was wound up in 2018 with the creation of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority, the single ombudsman scheme for financial services in Australia.
Since that time, he has worked at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and recently joined ING in its compliance advisory department
I met Raj many years ago when he was representing building societies and we were both on the board of the Financial Complaints Dispute Resolution Service, a tiny external dispute resolution service set up by breakaway credit unions and building societies to deal with complaints brought by customers of these members.
Raj and I talk about
- What Singlish is
- The Methodist school that he attended and what he realised many years later about the typical career paths for graduates
- Going to England to university on a student visa, when he couldn’t stay there how he got to come to Australia
- Being a first generation migrant and how he feels that you never quite fit in
- His motto is. Just like Nike’s, “Just do it”
- How he had to do 12 Australian legal subjects to convert his English law degree to become a solicitor in Australia
- How he got his first job by walking into a branch of the State Bank of NSW
- His first job in the recoveries department at the bank, selling people up – and how he didn’t fully appreciate the human suffering behind it until he became the credit ombudsman.
- How to get a job when you start employment at a venture capital company and a recession hits.
- What working in a policy role in Canberra taught him about politics.
- How his network got him the role as credit ombudsman
- Why that job was the best he ever had
- A bit of a history of the Credit and Investment Ombudsman (CIO)
- Building the organisation from 6 to 80 staff.
- How to give an organisation teeth when membership is completely voluntary but decisions might require the member to payout significant amounts of money
- Being the first ombudsman scheme to resolve financial hardship complaints where most of the other schemes were very reluctant to tackle the issue and where there was significant industry opposition.
- Why he opposed a single financial ombudsman scheme and how his views have changed since the creation of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority AFCA
- How to build a great team, seeing them as family, many who cried when news came that CIO was closing
- How to manage a very challenging industry that involved very different stakeholders, including consumer representatives, with divergent views and still maintain independence and impartiality.
- The importance of a great network, particularly for your first job
- How to build a great network, many of whom he still has contact with even after decades of not having worked with them.
- Why he did not accept all the invitations to connect on Linkedin
- Coping with going from a very influential position as CEO of the CIO to being a small cog in a large financial firm
- Being a mentor is often about having frank conversations with your mentee
If you want to find out more about Raj you can contact him through linkedin
or drop me a line through the website www.lorettakreet.com.
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