Six years, five PMs, four Federal Treasurers, one Medcraft

And so, as the sun finally sinks in the west, we bid farewell to the chair of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Greg Medcraft.

Well, not quite yet, but Outsider noted that one of the more colourful characters to chair the corporate regulator last month gave what amounted to a valedictory address to what must have been a rapt audience – the West Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry – describing his “career at ASIC”.

Now, notwithstanding the fact that Outsider and most dictionaries define a “career” as “an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress”, it has to be acknowledged that Medcraft did make an impression. He will undoubtedly be remembered by the members of the various Parliamentary Committees entertained by his various interjections and insights. Just as he will likely be remembered by those manning the executive lounges at various international air terminals.

He will also likely be remembered by the many in the financial services industry who find themselves paying the price of the industry funding of ASIC and also by those in the superannuation industry who are wondering why the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal needed to become part of a one stop shop.

Outsider hesitates to consider how the ASIC chair might be remembered by financial planners.

Of course, Medcraft had a much longer career at Societe Generale than he had at ASIC, including in New York as global head of securitisation in what turned out to be the lead-up to the sub-prime crisis but that must pale into insignificance with what he achieved in his six years at the helm of the regulator.

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He would have had a less interventionist time if the financial planners and financial services industry acted honestly and in the best interests of their clients. They should stop wingeing and reform themselves without having to be dragged kicking and screaming into some semblance of being trustworthy.

Good to see you are still clinging to those harsh generalisations Hedware, nothing much changes does it over on your side of the fence, wherever that is. I take great offence at this trustworthy comment, I and many of my peers have great amounts of trust with our clients that we have worked years and years to get and keep. Lucky you don't use your real name or else my lawyer would be all over you like a cheap suit with those unfounded generalist comments you keep making.

Well said TJ, well said

TJ good to see at your Pavlovian best. Your lawyer would have to be a miracle worker to disprove the many reports and legal cases on the nefarious and appalling activities by the banking and financial industries and their colluding employees. You would be the only person that your lawyer could call upon to give character references to your little mates. It would be the makings of a good comedy show.

But on a more serious note, good and honest financial planners and advisors are being being damaged by the dishonest and perfidious activities of others claiming the role of planners and advisors. If you and your peers are as good as you claim, then you would be backing the activities of Medcraft to restore the reputation of financial planners. Good financial planners and advisors provide an essential service and their role must be respected.

It is disappointing that the flippancy of the article runs against the usual ethical values within Money Management.

Speaking of ethics Hedware. I see that the Turnbull government has introduced a Bill into parliament that will force Industry Super Fund Boards to have a minimum of one third independent directors and require the Chair to be an independent director. The unfortunate part of this Bill is that it doesn't go far enough. It should legislate that a majority of the directors need to be independent. Why does this need to happen? Because good corporate governance, that delivers outcomes such as, Fairness, Responsibility, Transparency and Accountability is not possible when the directors of the board have a conflict of interest. This is an ethical issue because at present there is no way that the board of an Industry Super Fund can claim without question that they are acting in the best interest of their members? The depressing part of this is that Industry Super Funds and the ISA are vehemently opposing this Bill due to self-interest. One can only imagine what the agency costs will be if this is allowed to continue. So Hedwear you are not standing on a high moral ground, rather it seams you are throwing stones while standing on a mound of manure.

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