Former SMSF Association chair returns to board

 — 1 minute read

The SMSF Association has confirmed the appointment of two new board members, one of which is returning after stepping down almost two years.

Deborah Ralston

Professor Deborah Ralston, former chair of the association, returns to the peak body after leaving in September 2019 when she was appointed by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to the Retirement Income Review panel.

“I found my previous time on the SMSF Association Board to be extremely fulfilling, so I was delighted to accept when asked to join again,” Ms Ralston said.


“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 sector.”

Head of financial literacy and advocacy at BT, Bryan Ashenden, is the second board member announced on Wednesday.

“I am honoured to be asked to join the association’s board,” Mr 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.”

SMSF chair, Andrew Hamilton, said the association is “delighted” with the new additions.

“Deborah proved an invaluable board member during her last stint, playing an important role in the public debate on a broad range of retirement incomes policy issues,” he 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. 

“Deborah is a Professorial Fellow at Monash University and is a member of the Steering Committee for the Mercer CPA Global Pension Index. Aside from past academic roles, Deborah is a member of the Reserve Bank Payments System Board, and a non-executive director of Kaplan Business School, Kaplan Higher Education and SuperEd. Deborah was also the inaugural chair of ASIC’s Digital Finance Advisory Board.

“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.

“Aside from his BT role, Bryan is a lecturer on ethics and professionalism in financial advice and the economic and legal context for financial planning and is a member of various working groups at the Financial Services Council.”


Former SMSF Association chair returns to board
Deborah Ralston
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