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New ASIC chair named

The federal government yesterday named former Goldman Sachs banker James Shipton as the new chair of the Australian Investments and Securities Commission (ASIC).

Shipton, who will succeed Greg Medcraft, will start his five-year term in February 2018 if his appointment is endorsed by the opposition.

He currently holds the role of executive director of Harvard Law School’s program on international financial systems, and is the former executive director of the intermediaries supervision and licensing division at the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

He has also headed up Goldman Sachs’ Asian hedge fund consultancy business.

Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer said she believed Shipton would make a significant contribution to ASIC’s agenda in promoting confidence in Australia’s financial system and protecting consumer interests.

O’Dwyer also thanked Medcraft’s commitment to the organisation, stating he had overseen significant changes during his tenure, including reforms to improve the quality of financial advice and financial literacy, and the establishment of a national business names register.

Current deputy chair Peter Kell will perform the duty of acting chair from 12 November, when Medcraft’s term ends, to when Shipton takes over.

If appointed to the role, Shipton said the greatest challenge would be making ASIC a leading regulator by building trust and confidence in the markets.

“I see financial regulators as a leader, as a leading market participant, and what I want to do is make sure that ASIC is that leading market participant and leads by example,” he said.

He added culture was among the greatest challenges for financial markets globally and he continued to be an advocate of cultural reform in financial institutions.

“I’ve continued work at Harvard University in relation to the conduct and culture of financial institutions, working with overseas regulators. I very much intend to continue this important work,” he said.

Prior to his current role at Harvard, Shipton worked in various roles in investment banking in Asia and Europe.

He started his career as a lawyer at Linklaters and Blake Dawson Waldron and holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and Monash University respectively.

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