Former ASIC chair Alan Cameron will lead a new stakeholder group established by ASX to advise its subsidiaries ASX Clear and ASX Settlement on strategic clearing and settlement issues, including the governance of its CHESS replacement project.
The appointment was announced by ASX on Thursday following a roundtable hosted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in Sydney a day earlier which sought to finalise the development of the new Cash Equities Clearing and Settlement Advisory Group.
ASIC said that the roundtable had been convened “to address longstanding industry concerns over the CHESS replacement project and the adequacy of ASX’s stakeholder engagement and governance, including ASX’s management of intragroup conflict of interests”.
Among the “small group of recognised industry leaders” in attendance at the roundtable were ASIC commissioner Danielle Press and incoming Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor Michele Bullock. Mr Cameron was also formally introduced to those in attendance.
“ASIC welcomes the appointment of Alan Cameron as independent chair to the advisory group. Mr Cameron and the advisory group will have an important role in assisting ASX to restore trust and confidence in the project,” commented ASIC chair Joe Longo.
“There was a consensus that ASX, the advisory group, and industry must work collaboratively to achieve the best outcome for the market, for listed companies and investors, and not favour any particular group’s interests.”
ASX confirmed that the advisory group will include senior industry leaders who it said would bring the perspective of issuers and investors while also providing deep expertise in clearing, settlement, custody, technology, registry services, and markets.
Helen Lofthouse, ASX managing director and chief executive officer, suggested that the task ahead for the new advisory group is “both challenging and crucially important”.
“ASX is deeply committed to continuing to lift our engagement with stakeholders, and we value a constructive and collaborative working relationship with industry,” she said.
“The advisory group is a highly positive development that will help drive effective stakeholder input, including building a consensus view on the best interests of the whole market.”
Ms Lofthouse also noted that she was delighted that Mr Cameron had agreed to chair the new advisory group and said that “his deep industry experience and his consensus-building skills” would be invaluable in helping it contribute effectively.
Mr Cameron served as chair of ASIC between 1993 and 2000 and was previously director of the Sydney Futures Exchange prior to its merger with ASX. He has been chair of ASX Compliance (previously known as ASX Markets Supervision) and the ASX Corporate Governance Council.
ASX noted that the appointment had been approved by the boards of both ASX Clear and ASX Settlement and confirmed Mr Cameron would chair the first meeting of the advisory group.
ASIC said that it expected ASX and the advisory group to work together in the best interest of the market, including for the replacement of CHESS. The regulator and the RBA will together outline their expectations of the new group in the coming weeks.
Last week, law firm Herbert Smith Freehills recommended improvements relating to how the ASX Group identifies and manages conflicts between its commercial interests and the general licence obligations of ASX Clear and ASX Settlements.
Jon Bragg is a journalist for Momentum Media's Investor Daily, nestegg and ifa. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of financial topics and issues and exploring the many implications they have on all aspects of life.