The SMSF Association has announced the appointment of two new board members, Professor Deborah Ralston and BT head of financial literacy and advocacy Bryan Ashenden.
Ralston rejoins the association board after stepping down as chair in September 2019 when she was appointed by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to join the three-member Retirement Income Review (RIR) panel.
Ralston is currently a professional fellow at Monash University, member of the steering committee for the Mercer CPA Global Pension Index and member of the Reserve Bank Payments System Board, and was also the inaugural chair of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Digital Finance Advisory Board.
SMSF Association chair Andrew Hamilton said: “Deborah proved an invaluable board member during her last stint, playing an important role in the public debate on a broad range of retirement incomes policy issues.
“Her many years of being involved in key public policy debates in the financial services industry, with a focus on innovation and retirement issues, is a resource that the association will be able to tap again.”
Ralston said she was pleased to be asked to rejoin the board and as the final report of the RIR highlighted, there were a number of challenges ahead and “I look forward to contributing to the debate, particularly as it affects the SMSF sector”.
Aside from his work at BT, Ashenden is an experienced lecturer on ethics and professionalism within the financial advice sector and the economic and legal context for financial planning;,and is a member of working groups at the Financial Services Council.
Hamilton noted his previous experience has made him a suitable candidate for the position as he will be required to interpret legislative and regulatory changes and provide meaningful actions for advisers, advice businesses, clients and consumers.
“A principal focus in this role is to assist building consumer trust in the advice process and supporting advisers in raising professional standards, a role that makes him eminently suitable for our board at a point of time when the advice industry is undergoing major change,” he said.
Ashenden said: “Having been a specialist member for the past decade, I am confident my experiences, especially my current role at BT interpreting legislative and regulatory change, equips me to make a meaningful contribution to the association and the SMSF sector more broadly.”