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SMSF Association names chair

The SMSF Association has announced Professor Deborah Ralston as its new chairperson, effective from the end of the industry body’s annual national conference this Friday.

Ralston joined the board in July 2016 and will take over from Andrew Gale, who will remain a director.

Vanguard head of market strategy and communications Robin Bowerman will remain deputy chair.

Gale said Ralston’s contributions as a director and member on the public policy committee have been invaluable in what has been an exacting period for the association and the SMSF sector following the major changes to the super legislative framework in 2016.

“Deborah brings to the table her vast knowledge of financial services research and strategy, with its special focus on superannuation, financial regulation and digital finance innovation,” he said.

“Coupled with a deep pedigree in public policy, especially in the role of leading the Monash-based Australian Centre for Financial Studies, she is an experienced company director in the private and public sectors, with board appointments including the Reserve Bank of Australia’s payment systems board, Mortgage Choice and the YBR FinTech Hub advisory board.”

Ralston said it was an honour to chair the peak industry body for the next two years.

“Since its inception 15 years ago, this organisation has never strayed from its core belief that every Australian has the right to a good quality of life in retirement and that every Australian has the right to control of their retirement destiny,” she said.

“This is a proud legacy I have been bequeathed and it’s one that I will nurture in partnership with the board, executive team and members during my two-year stewardship.”

Ralston has a Master of Economics degree from the University of New England and a PhD from Bond University, and is a recognised authority on financial services research and strategy, with a particular capability in superannuation, financial regulation and digital finance innovation.

She has published widely in these areas and has completed research consultancies with major corporations, as well as worked extensively with start-ups.

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