Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer has rejected suggestions that incoming ASIC chair James Shipton was not the government’s first choice.
Speaking in Canberra yesterday, Ms O’Dwyer said she was pleased to announce the appointment of James Shipton to replace outgoing ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft.
“We have appointed here the most qualified and the most experienced candidate for the job ahead,” she said.
Asked about the government’s alleged first preference of former CBA lawyer John O’Sullivan, Ms O’Dwyer dismissed suggestions Mr Shipton was a second string candidate.
“[Shipton] is absolutely the government’s choice,” she said. “He is someone with experience in regulation directly. As a regulator he has been at the coal face. He is someone who has worked in the financial markets, in investment banking but also as a lawyer as well, and he is someone who is seen as a world expert.”
Last month, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen issued a strongly-worded statement following rumours that the government sought to appoint Mr O’Sullivan, arguing that the candidate’s personal ties to the NSW Liberal Party threaten “ASIC’s independence”.
“Labor makes it very clear, we will not support Mr O'Sullivan's appointment, should it proceed,” Mr Bowen said.
Mr O’Sullivan wrote to Treasury this week recusing himself from the recruitment process, according to reports in the Fairfax press.
Speaking alongside Ms O’Dwyer, Mr Shipton signalled trust and cultural reform as key priorities for his tenure as ASIC chair.
“Culture is among the greatest challenges for all financial markets globally,” he said.
“I’ve been a great advocate of cultural reform in financial institutions and in the financial markets for a long time, including when I was at the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.
“I’ve continued work at Harvard University in relation to the conduct and culture of financial institutions, working with overseas regulators. I very much intend to continue this important work.”
Mr Shipton is the son of former federal Coalition MP for Higgins Roger Shipton.
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