Appointments, ASIC

Govt announces new ASIC deputy chair

The federal government has appointed Productivity Commission deputy chair Karen Chester as a full-time deputy chair of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Chester will replace former deputy chair Peter Kell, who announced his resignation in September and finished his term on 6 December after seven years of service.

In 2015, the government appointed Chester to chair an expert panel that undertook a four-month capability review of ASIC, which resulted in a number of key changes to strengthen the corporate regulator.

Chester developed expertise on ASIC’s role and capabilities in her capacity as chair of the panel.

She has been deputy chair of the Productivity Commission since May 2016, having been appointed a commissioner in December 2013.

Chester oversaw 10 inquiries and projects at the commission, including its three-stage review of the superannuation system.

Prior to her role at the Productivity Commission, she was a partner and global head of infrastructure at Mercer. Before joining Mercer, she was a partner at Access Capital Advisers and chief executive of Access Economics.

ASIC has six commissioners, with new commissioner Sean Hughes commencing on 1 December for a five-year term.

Danielle Press began her role as a commissioner for a five-year term on 17 September.

ASIC chair James Shipton assumed his role on 1 February.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government has undertaken significant reforms to ensure ASIC has the powers and resources required to combat misconduct in the financial services industry and across all corporations.

This includes an additional $70.1 million in funding to support ASIC’s new strategic direction, improving its ability to detect and address misconduct in financial services and protect consumers.

Furthermore, the government announced an additional $51.1 million in funding for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and Federal Court of Australia to pursue more prosecutions of criminal misconduct and ensure civil claims are dealt with quickly and effectively.

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