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Productivity commissioner becomes new ASIC deputy chair

karen chester ta karen chester ta
Annie Kane 5 minute read

The government has appointed a new deputy chair to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following the resignation of Peter Kell.

Karen Chester, who has been the deputy chair of the Productivity Commission since May 2016, will take up the role of deputy chair of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) from 28 January 2019.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg made the announcement of Ms Chester's appointment on Friday (7 December), stating that the new deputy chair had “developed deep expertise on ASIC’s role and capabilities” when she was the chair of a panel that undertook a four-month capability review of ASIC. The review resulted in a number of key changes to strengthen ASIC.

Ms Chester was a partner at Mercer and global head of infrastructure. Before joining Mercer, Ms Chester was a partner at Access Capital Advisers and the CEO of Access Economics.


She has a first class honours degree in economics from the University of Queensland and was awarded an honorary doctorate in economics by the university in 2017.

Government thanks Peter Kell for his service

The appointment comes following the departure of Mr Kell, who stepped down from his role this week after having tendered his resignation earlier this year.

Mr Kell was initially due to leave ASIC in May this year, when his five-year term expired. However, he was asked by the government to extend his tenure in order to assist with the transition of new chairman James Shipton. He was also a key representative for ASIC during the financial services royal commission.

Given that Mr Kell’s extended contract would have expired in May 2019, Mr Kell handed in his resignation in September and stepped down from his role on Thursday (6 December).


Treasurer Josh Frydenberg commented: “The government again thanks Mr Kell for his important contribution to ASIC.”

He continued: “The Liberal National government has undertaken significant reforms to ensure that ASIC has the powers and resources it needs to combat misconduct in the financial services industry and across all corporations for the protection of Australian consumers.

“Ms Chester’s appointment follows the government’s significant investment in the leadership of ASIC, with the appointment of a new ASIC chair in Mr James Shipton, deputy chair in Mr Daniel Crennan QC, who has a key focus on enforcement, and two additional commissioners, Ms Danielle Press and Mr Sean Hughes.”

The government has been adding additional resources to ASIC to help it support its “new strategic direction”, which includes greater focus on enforcement.

[Related: ASIC focusing on loan fraud within banks]

Productivity commissioner becomes new ASIC deputy chair
karen chester ta
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karen chester ta
Annie Kane

Annie Kane

Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.

As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts. 

Email Annie at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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