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New ASIC chair announced

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Reporter 2 minute read

James Shipton, executive director of the Program on International Financial Systems at Harvard Law School, has been announced as the government's recommended nominee for the role of chair at ASIC.

According to an announcement by Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O'Dwyer, Mr Shipton will be recommended as the government's choice for the role of chair at the Australian Securities & Investments Commission to the Governor-General in Council.

Mr Shipton would then replace Greg Medcraft for the five-year period starting 1 February 2018.

Mr Peter Kell, the current deputy chair, will be the acting chair from the time Mr Medcraft’s term ends on 12 November 2017 to when Mr Shipton commences in February.

Ms O'Dwyer commented: "Mr Shipton brings wide regulatory and financial market knowledge to the position, as well as international experience.

"He is currently the executive director of the Program on International Financial Systems at Harvard Law School. From 2013 to 2016, he was the executive director, Intermediaries Supervision and Licensing Division at the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. Prior to that, he had extensive experience in various roles in investment banking in Asia and Europe and commenced his professional career as a solicitor in Australia.

"I look forward to Mr Shipton making a significant contribution to the important work of ASIC in promoting confidence in Australia’s financial system and protecting consumer interests as the incoming chair."

Mr Shipton commented: "It is a great honour to be nominated to be the next chair of ASIC. The challenges ahead for Australia’s financial system, and its regulators, are significant. In meeting those challenges, I very much hope to build upon the important work to date of the men and women of ASIC. I intend to ensure that ASIC will be a strong, proactive, efficient, innovative and strategic regulator that will utilise its many regulatory tools, including gatekeeping, supervising and enforcement. In order to do this, I will draw upon my years of experience in overseas markets — as a lawyer, as a market participant, as a regulator and now as an academic specialising in financial systems and regulation — to continue to bring best international practice to ASIC.

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"Financial markets are, ultimately, built on trust. Trust in the integrity of the market and trust in market participants. I see ASIC as a guardian of that trust and as an institution that is there to constantly remind market participants that finance only exists to serve the broader community and the economy."

Mr Shipton added that he "very much look[s] forward to joining ASIC early next year" and "working with their dedicated staff to meet the challenges facing modern financial markets. He also thanked and congratulated outgoing chair Greg Medcraft for his stewardship and leadership of ASIC, adding: "It is very much my intention to build upon his and his colleagues’ hard work and successes." 

Ms O'Dwyer also went on to "express [her] appreciation to Mr Greg Medcraft for his commitment over the past years to ASIC both as the chair and as a member".

She said: "Mr Medcraft has overseen significant changes in ASIC’s role during his tenure, including reforms to improve the quality of financial advice and financial literacy, and the establishment of a national business names register."

[Related: 'I'd do it': ASIC chairman would place consumers in larger loans]

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