SMSF Association appoints board members

The SMSF Association has appointed Deborah Ralston and Bryan Ashenden to its board.

Ralston was a former chair of the association and stepped down in 2019 after being appointed to the government’s retirement income review panel.

SMSF Association chair, Andrew Hamilton, said: “Her many years of being involved in key public policy debates in the financial services industry, with a focus on innovation and retirement issues, is a resource that the Association will be able to tap again, and we look forward to hearing her wise counsel”.

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Ralston was also a professorial fellow at Monash University and a member of the steering committee for the Mercer CFA Global Pension Index. She was a member of the Reserve Bank payments system board, and a non-executive director of Kaplan Business School, Kaplan Higher Education and SuperEd, and the inaugural chair of the corporate regulator’s digital finance advisory board.

“As our work on the Retirement Income Review highlighted, we have many challenges ahead and I look forward to contributing to the debate, particularly as it affects the SMSF [self-managed superannuation fund] sector,” Ralston said.

Ashenden was currently BT’s head of financial literacy and advocacy and a lecturer on ethics and professionalism in financial advice and the economic and legal context for financial planning, and a member of various working groups at the Financial Services Council.

Commenting on Ashenden’s appointment, Hamilton said: “Bryan’s primary focus at BT is to interpret legislative and regulatory change and distil this into meaningful actions for advisers, advice businesses, clients and consumers.

“A principal focus in this role is to assist building consumer trust in the advice process and supporting advisers in raising professional standards, a role that makes him eminently suitable for our board at a point of time when the advice industry is undergoing major change.”

Ashenden said: “Having been a specialist member for the past decade, I am confident my experiences, especially my current role at BT interpreting legislative and regulatory change, equips me to make a meaningful contribution to the association and the SMSF sector more broadly”.

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