6 December 2018

New Deputy Chair of ASIC

The Liberal National Government has appointed Ms Karen Chester as a full-time Deputy Chair to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Ms Chester has been the Deputy Chair of the Productivity Commission since May 2016, having been appointed a Commissioner in December 2013. During this time, Ms Chester presided on over 10 Inquiries and projects including the Commission’s three stage review of the superannuation system.

Prior to the Productivity Commission, 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.

In 2015, the Government appointed Ms Chester to chair an expert panel that undertook a four-month capability review of ASIC. The review resulted in a number of key changes to strengthen ASIC and, in light of her role, Ms Chester developed deep expertise on ASIC’s role and capabilities.

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.

It also follows the Government’s commitment of:

  • an additional $70.1 million in funding to support ASIC’s new strategic direction, enhancing its ability to detect and address misconduct in financial services and protect consumers; and
  • an additional $51.1 million in funding for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the Federal Court of Australia to pursue more prosecutions of criminal misconduct and ensure civil claims are dealt with effectively and expeditiously.

Ms Chester will commence with ASIC for a five year period from 28 January 2019, replacing Peter Kell. The Government again thanks Mr Kell for his important contribution to ASIC.