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Financial Services Council appoints new directors, boosts financial advice focus

THE Financial Services Council (FSC) has appointed four new directors to the FSC board, two sourced from its funds management membership, and two sourced from a new, expanded membership cohort of financial advice businesses.

The new directors are Keith Cullen, WT Financial Group managing director; Neil Younger, Fortnum Financial Group managing director and group CEO; Esther Kerr, Australian Unity CEO for wealth and capital markets; and Andrew Creber, J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Australia and New Zealand CEO. 

FSC chairman, David Bryant said FSC was the “leading voice in the superannuation, financial advice, investment platforms and funds management sectors”.

“The appointment of four senior industry leaders to the FSC board brings new depth of expertise to the FSC board and will further strengthen our representation of the industry,” Mr Bryant said.

In addition to the appointments, the FSC has welcomed new financial advice businesses to its membership “to deepen its engagement with the sector”.

Mr Bryant said this new model of engagement would add the advice licensees’ expertise to the FSC’s policy development processes and is coming at a critical time in the financial advice reform debate.

Advice licensees joining the FSC under this initiative include Count Ltd, Fortnum Private Wealth, Infocus, Otivo, Rhombus Advisory Pty Ltd and WT Financial Group.

FSC CEO Blake Briggs, said, “The financial services industry is at its strongest when it speaks with a unified voice on regulatory and policy issues that impact the sector and its consumers. 

“The FSC has a leading role unifying the industry on reform initiatives, and I am pleased to have this opportunity to appoint directors from the financial advice sector to deepen our engagement and strengthen our advocacy on advice issues.”

New director, WT Financial Group’s Keith Cullen said, “Delivering more affordable and accessible financial advice for Australian consumers is a priority for the FSC and the advice profession and I look forward to contributing to a strong, unified industry voice that ensures reform remains a priority for the Government.”

Fortnum Financial Group’s Neil Younger said he welcomed the challenge of his new role and an FSC director.

“At a pivotal time for the financial advice profession, I look forward to contributing the experience and insights of financial advisers and licensees to the FSC’s policy development, to help deliver a more efficient regulatory framework for financial advisers and their clients.” 
The appointment of two new FSC directors from the funds management sector reflects the FSC’s broad membership and representation of the industry, FSC’s Mr Bryant said.

One of those appointees, Australian Unity’s Esther Kerr said, “The FSC brings together an increasingly diverse set of businesses and perspectives from across the financial services industry, all focused on achieving sustainable, accessible and relevant products and services for our members.

“I am very pleased that my appointment provides the opportunity to share Australian Unity’s experience to help deliver policies that enable the financial wellbeing of Australian consumers.”

J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Andrew Creber said, “Australia’s financial services sector is a significant contributor to the Australian economy, and I look forward to contributing to the important role the FSC plays shaping the national economic reform agenda.” 

FSC’s David Bryant said FSC’s ‘full members’ represent Australia’s retail and wholesale funds management businesses, superannuation funds, life insurers and financial advice licensees. FSC ‘supporting members’ represent the professional services firms such as ICT, consulting, accounting, legal, recruitment, actuarial and research organisations. The financial services industry is responsible for investing more than $3 trillion on behalf of over 15.6 million Australians.











AFCA announces new directors Raylene Bellottie and Yien Hong

THE Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has appointed Raylene Bellottie and Yien Hong to its board as two new industry directors, effective January 1 next year.

AFCA’s independent board chair, John Pollaers said the board was “excited to welcome Raylene and Yien, who would bring a wide breadth of skills and knowledge to their roles”.

“Both of these highly successful women are the perfect fit for AFCA’s board, and their appointments ensure the organisation will continue to provide an independent, free and fair external dispute resolution service for financial disputes in Australia,” Professor Pollaers said.

The AFCA board consists of an independent chair and an equal number of directors with consumer and industry experience, covering the multi-dimensional and highly complex industries AFCA deals with.

The AFCA announcement said Raylene Bellottie was “a proud Nanda woman from Yamatji country with a wealth of expertise as an Aboriginal business director, consultant and board member”. 

Ms Bellottie has “extensive financial sector experience of over 25 years. She is deeply committed to enhancing Indigenous financial literacy and has served as the deputy chair of the First Nations Foundation for more than 10 years. The foundation strives to promote economic freedom for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“She gained valuable experience during her tenure at ANZ Bank, later joining Credit Union Australia (CUA) as the national business development manager of First Nations accounts, where she was instrumental in expanding the First Nations portfolio from $17 million to over $200 million.

“Raylene is currently a business coach for the Waalitj Foundation, where she provides guidance and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to enhance their competence and capability building. In addition, she has held various roles with the Indigenous Advisory Group, the Indigenous Financial Service Network, and as the deputy chairperson for Nanda Aboriginal Corporation. Raylene is currently a member and director of Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation and chairperson of Yamatji Funds Management Ltd.”

“Raylene’s remarkable career in the finance sector along with her experience working with small businesses, means she has a strong understanding of the important work AFCA does,” Professor Pollaers said.

Yien Hong is general counsel and company secretary at Judo Bank, Australia’s only purpose-built challenger business bank for small and medium enterprises, which listed on the ASX in November 2021. 

The AFCA announcement said “Yien has had an impressive executive career, having held senior roles in Australia and internationally across firms including Deutsche Bank, NAB and Linklaters. Prior to joining Judo Bank, she was general counsel and company secretary at Growthpoint Properties Australia, an ASX-200 listed property fund. Yien was also Senior Legal Counsel at NAB, providing legal advice and support to the bank's business banking division”.

Ms Hong’s international experience includes three years as the head of FX and Fixed Income Prime Brokerage Legal at Deutsche Bank, London, where she led a team that supported the structured derivatives business. Before joining Deutsche Bank, Ms Hong held a senior role with global law firm Linklaters, delivering client solutions for private equity acquisitions, cross-border financings and complex structured finance transactions.

Prof. Pollaers said with a passion for social justice, “Yien served for five years as the director and chair of the development committee at YWCA Housing (YWCA Victoria), working to provide accommodation and other services to disadvantaged women”.  She also currently serves as a non-executive director of the Australian Arts Orchestra, one of Australia’s leading contemporary ensembles.

“Yien’s impressive executive career, strong legal background and solid understanding of governance, underpinned with a strong sense of social justice, makes her an excellent fit for AFCA and an important addition to the board,” Prof. Pollaers said.

Ms Bellottie and Ms Hong will replace current AFCA board members Claire Mackay and Andrew Fairley. Ms Mackay joined the AFCA board in May 2018 and Mr Fairley in July 2018.

“Claire and Andrew played such an important part in AFCA’s first five years, as founding directors,” Prof. Pollaers said. “They both provided invaluable knowledge and expertise during their tenures and we thank them for the significant contributions they have made in helping AFCA to become the world-class ombudsman service it is today.”

AFCA is a non-government ombudsman service aiming to provide free, fair and independent dispute resolution to individual consumers and small businesses when they are not able to resolve complaints directly with financial firms in banking and finance, insurance, investments and advice, and superannuation. AFCA aims to help the parties reach agreement, but it can issue decisions that are binding on financial firms.


Constant Contact appoints new leader in Brisbane to accelerate Asia-Pacific growth

CONSTANT CONTACT, a digital marketing and automation platform used by millions of small businesses and non-profits globally, has chosen Renée Chaplin as its new vice president of Asia-Pacific (APAC). 

Ms Chaplin will lead Constant Contact’s growth in the APAC region and scale its operations from the company’s APAC headquarters in Brisbane.

Ms Chaplin brings to the firm more than 20 years experience growing business-to-business (B2B) brands.

Constant Contact CEO Frank Vella said Ms Chaplin would help drive broader awareness and adoption of Constant Contact’s digital marketing platform in APAC and deliver value to customers in that region.

He said “this strategic hire” represented Constant Contact’s continued investment into growing its presence in Australia, following the acquisition of Brisbane-founded Vision6 in 2022. 

“International presence is a key objective for Constant Contact, and Australia is a major technology hub in the world’s fastest-growing region,” Mr Vella said.

“We’ve invested in APAC through our acquisition of Vision6, and we see an opportunity to build on that momentum to deliver even more value to our global customers and partners. I am confident that Renée’s experience and local presence will help accelerate our efforts in APAC and make an immediate impact on our business and our customers’ businesses within the region.”

Prior to joining Constant Contact, Ms Chaplin worked for a variety of technology companies, from Australian start-ups to multinational SaaS organisations specialising in AI, automation, customer experience and billing technology.

“Constant Contact is well known globally for being a pioneer of digital marketing innovation in the small business space, and the company’s recent advancements in AI and marketing automation make this an exciting time to join the organisation,” Mr Chaplin said.

“Our Vision6 product is already Australia’s most reliable email marketing and SMS platform with sovereign onshore data storage and local customer support. I look forward to growing Constant Contact’s APAC business and helping our customers and agency partners develop stronger relationships with their customers.” 


FSC appoints new board members Alexis George and Matt Rady

THE Financial Services Council (FSC) has appointed two senior industry leaders – AMP chief executive Alexis George and BT Financial Group CEO Matt Rady – to the FSC board.

Ms George has more than 30 years experience in the financial services industry in Australia and internationally. She spent seven years at ANZ bank, including as deputy chief executive officer driving group-wide strategic initiatives in addition to having responsibility for its shared service centres and banking services. 

Prior to ANZ, Ms George spent 10 years with ING Group in senior roles with responsibility for banking, insurance, funds management, product, marketing, technology and operations.

Mr Rady has more than 30 years experience in the financial services and wealth industries with executive roles in companies including Macquarie Group and global financial services technology company, IRESS. Prior to BT Financial Group, Mr Rady was chief executive officer at Allianz Retire.

Since Mr Rady’s appointment at BT in 2021, he has led BT Financial Group through a period of significant change. Mr Rady leads BT platforms – including Asgard and BT Panorama – and the main lending business. As well as supporting outcomes for customers and members he is an advocate for the value of financial advice in Australia.

FSC chairman, David Bryant said, “Alexis and Matt are senior industry leaders that bring to the board extensive financial services industry experience that will further strengthen the FSC’s advocacy for the industry and its consumers on key policy and regulatory issues.

“Alexis and Matt share the FSC’s commitment to a more competitive, efficient and consumer focused financial services sector that delivers high quality service, financial advice and wealth products for Australian consumers.”

Ms George said, “Joining the FSC Board is an opportunity to represent AMP’s customers and to ensure our industry, regulators and government are working together to achieve the best possible financial outcomes for all Australians.” 

Mr Rady said, “I am delighted to be joining the FSC board and am looking forward to working with my fellow directors to support reforms that shape the future of financial services in Australia.”


HTW elects Sheena Wilson as chair with Andrew Wellington deputy

INDEPENDENT valuation and advisory firm, Herron Todd White Australia (HTW) has elected Sheena Wilson to chair its board. Ms Wilson is the first woman to lead the HTW board of directors.

“I am honoured to have been elected,” Ms Wilson said. "I’m looking forward to helping steer HTW through what will be a dynamic and exciting time for this prestigious company.” 

HTW CEO, Gary Brinkworth, said the group was delighted to have Ms Wilson helm the board. 

“We are very proud that Sheena, who was elected at the same time as Jeff (Forbes) to the board of HTW as an independent non-executive director and became deputy chair in 2015, was elected to fill the position of chair following last week’s AGM,” Mr Brinkworth said. 

“We are also very pleased to confirm that Andrew Wellington was elected as an independent non-executive director to the HTWA/C board at last week’s AGM, and appointed deputy chair of the board, and chair of the finance, audit and risk management committee,” Mr Brinkworth said. 

Based in Brisbane, Mr Wellington has been the Chair of the Brisbane Lions Football Club since 2017. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and senior fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA) and served as chair of FINSIA Queensland’s Regional Council from 2007 to 2011. Mr Wellington is also a former partner of PwC’s Deals Practice division, specialising in business valuation, and has been a member of the PwC Australia board of partners.


Sajen Legal Sunshine Coast welcomes Vincent Berry as a director of the firm

QUEENSLAND commercial litigation law firm, Sajen Legal, has appointed Vincent Berry as a director of the firm.

Mr Berry said he had been drawn to the firm’s “unwavering commitment of delivering consistently exceptional service to its clients” when he joined Sajen Legal in 2017. Mr Berry had already enjoyed extensive success in the field of commercial litigation, where he focussed on insolvency and bankruptcy, restructuring, asset protection, building and construction, and various other commercial disputes, before joining Sajen Legal.

Now Sajen has recognised Mr Berry’s significant contributions and dedication to providing the highest quality service to clients, Sajen Legal founder and director, Kyle Kimball said.

“Vincent is highly regarded for his innovative approach to protecting clients’ interests and has demonstrated an outstanding ability to handle complex cases,” Mr Kimball said. 

“He has routinely provided expert advice to insolvency practitioners and has achieved significant success in defending claims brought by liquidators, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), banks, and other creditors and he has been an asset to the team from the moment he joined us.

“His legal acumen and dedication to client success align perfectly with our firm’s values and as we continue to expand our services and reach, Vincent’s expertise will be instrumental in helping our clients achieve their strategic goals,” Mr Kimball said.

Mr Berry’s primary focus will continue to be helping clients protect their businesses and assets and, with the building and construction industry expected to continue to be under significant economic pressure, he expects to  draw upon his experience in this sector to assist clients in navigating the complex legal landscape.

“I am looking forward to what the next decade holds,” Mr Berry said.

“Without a doubt there are some challenging times ahead for many industry sectors and we are already seeing this with the construction industry facing significant pressure with several high-profile company failures occurring.

“The sleeping giant that is the ATO has also started to stir into action with a significant increase in enforcement activity and the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) is predicting that personal bankruptcies will almost double over the next 12 months.

“Becoming a director and being able to help grow the business while also being able to give back to the community was always something I aspired to and I look forward to building on the great foundations and reputation that has been built over many years by Kyle and Tim (Borham, Sajen Legal director).” Mr Berry said.

Mr Berry’s appointment marks a strategic move by Sajen Legal to ensure its clients’ prosperity in the post-pandemic landscape.

Mr Borham said, “With Vincent’s expertise and the firm’s commitment to excellence, Sajen Legal stands ready to support clients in navigating the challenges and seizing the opportunities that lie ahead.”


Bluestar Energy Australia brings in Steve Jackson as MD

BLUESTAR Energy Capital recently appointed Steve Jackson as managing director of its Australian renewable development platform, Bluestar Energy Australia Pty Ltd.

Mr Jackson has more than 30 years of experience in the Australian power industry and has held executive positions with leading private and public electricity companies. He will be based in Bluestar’s Sydney CBD office.

Previously, Mr Jackson has held positions as vice president and Asia-Pacific regional manager at First Solar and as head of development at FRV Australia.

“Steve has a proven track record in establishing and scaling leading platforms in the Australian energy transition,” Bluestar founder and CEO, Declan Flanagan said.

Mr Jackson said, “Bluestar has such a high calibre team with a fantastic track record of success in developing renewable energy projects globally. I’m fortunate to hit the ground running with great resources, one permitted wind project, and other projects having commenced development with an established developer here in Australia. 

“I look forward to building another high performing team of Aussie industry professionals to develop more wind, solar, and storage projects. The challenge of meeting Australian decarbonisation targets is considerable, creating a huge opportunity to build a globally significant platform and I look forward to helping achieve this.”

Since the completion of its US$100 million initial fundraising from founder Declan Flanagan and investors S2G Ventures and Great Bay Renewables in 2022, Bluestar has been successfully scaling its global presence.

The company now has offices in Chicago, Austin, Dublin, and Sydney. Its fast-growing team consists of more than 30 professionals, and its project development pipeline already exceeds 1 gigawatt (GW), including Bluestar’s first fully permitted project in Australia, which is on track to enter construction next year.

“I am very pleased with the progress we have made in a short period of time. It’s a testament to the great group of professionals at Bluestar,” Mr Flanagan said. “But this is a long-term and patient plan. There are plenty of challenges to the global energy transition as well as undisciplined capital chasing investments, which makes Bluestar’s greenfield development-focused strategy especially important.”


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