APRA appoints new board member to oversee super

Margaret Cole has been appointed to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) executive board, and will be primarily responsible for overseeing APRA’s activities in relation to superannuation.

Helen Rowell, APRA deputy chair, would now be primarily responsible for overseeing APRA’s activities in relation to general, life and private health insurance.

The change is significant because it comes as the APRA heatmaps continue to be an issue and as debate continues around legislation empowering APRA to conduct superannuation fund performance assessments.

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Cole would take up her new role on 1 July, 2021, for a five-year term, replacing Geoff Summerhayes whose five-year term expired on 31 December, 2020.

Wayne Byres, APRA chair, said Cole’s appointment provided a natural opportunity to review and refresh the allocation of responsibilities amongst the APRA members, and to take advantage of the mix of skills and experience amongst the group.

“Superannuation is a natural fit for Margaret given her background,” Byres said.

“Helen, as well as being a qualified actuary, was one of APRA’s senior insurance supervisors earlier in her career and was heavily involved in the design of APRA’s insurance capital framework, so is very well equipped to oversee the insurance industry.”

Cole would join the APRA executive board alongside the Byres, and the deputy chairs, John Lonsdale and Rowell.

The appointment was made by the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, who said Cole would bring a strong enforcement background and global perspective to APRA, which would further strengthen APRA’s leadership capability.

“Ms Cole has extensive experience in regulatory and legal fields across both the private and public sectors, having worked as managing director of enforcement and financial crime and a board member of the UK Financial Services Authority,” Frydenberg said.

“More recently Ms Cole has worked as general counsel and chief risk officer of PwC in the UK and subsequently PwC’s global regulatory policy and engagement leader.

“Ms Cole also spent over 20 years in private practice as a solicitor specialising in commercial litigation with an emphasis on financial services.

“Strong and effective financial regulators are vitally important to maintaining the community’s trust and confidence in the financial system.”

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