Superannuation fund shareholders in Westpac need to get serious

Veteran financial services lawyer, Noel Davis is exhorting the superannuation funds which are shareholders in Westpac to support his election to the bank’s board in circumstances where the bank has entered into an enforceable undertaking with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). 

Davis, a former member of the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) said it appeared he was not receiving extensive support from superannuation funds despite the obvious problems currently besetting Westpac. 

“It appears that I am not receiving extensive support in my nomination from the trustees of large superannuation funds and their advisers, despite the capital and dividend losses being borne by members of superannuation funds as a result of compliance breaches by Westpac and despite my experience in risk and compliance issues, including at board level,” he said. 

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“Perhaps trustees, in acting in the interests of their members, are satisfied that the existing board will adequately deal with these matters, although, from my discussions, it is clear that their members are not of that view and want action to be taken,” Davis said. 

Davis said his nomination to the Westpac board was being opposed by other directors despite him having a spent a lifetime in dealing with risk and compliance issues in financial institutions as a financial services lawyer, as a director of financial services companies and as a chairman of board risk and compliance committees. 

“It appears that the Westpac board does not regard that experience as beneficial in the risk and compliance crisis that it is facing, even though there is not any extensive financial services risk and compliance experience on the Board and amongst the candidates that it is supporting. That suggests that the board does not get the seriousness of the risk, compliance and culture issues that it faces,” Davis said. 

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