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Government searches for new Future Fund chair

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The government is seeking a replacement for Peter Costello, who will exit the Future Fund next year after 14 years on the board, including a decade as chairman.

The Albanese government has announced that a “formal merit-based recruitment process” is now underway to find the next chair of the Future Fund.

In a joint statement on Monday, Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Minister for Finance Katy Gallagher confirmed that current chairman Peter Costello advised the government a fortnight ago that he would not be seeking a third term in the role.

“We thank Mr Costello for his significant contribution as a board member and then chair over the past 14 years. He leaves with the government’s appreciation and respect,” they said.

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Mr Chalmers and Ms Gallagher said Mr Costello was “instrumental” in establishing the Future Fund in 2006 and its initial investment mandate while serving as federal treasurer.

“Upon the fund’s inception, Mr Costello spoke about the importance of ensuring that Australia could meet its unfunded superannuation obligations without imposing an undue burden on future generations,” the pair said.

“During his time at the Future Fund, its portfolio has grown steadily and is today worth more than $200 billion. It has delivered an average annual return of 8.8 per cent per annum over the past decade.”

Mr Costello joined the Future Fund board in December 2009. He was appointed acting chairman in January 2014 before commencing a five-year term as chairman in February of the same year.

He was then appointed for another five-year term In February 2019. Mr Costello’s 14 years on the board, including a decade as chairman, will come to an end in February next year.

His departure comes amid calls for the Future Fund to be liquidated. However, Mr Costello has stressed that the “once-in-a-century asset” can only be spent once.

Mr Chalmers and Ms Gallagher said the federal government will “carefully consider any future board vacancies as an opportunity to refresh and renew the Future Fund’s leadership”.

“The Albanese government has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring the nation’s economic institutions remain world class with the right leadership and structures in place to meet current and future challenges,” they said.

Last week, the government announced the appointment of former Macquarie Bank chief executive officer Mary Reemst to the Future Fund board of guardians for a five‑year term.

At the time, Mr Chalmers and Ms Gallagher said Ms Reemst’s appointment “will help maintain the high level of skills and experience on the Future Fund board”.

“The Future Fund was established in 2006 to help the government meet its unfunded superannuation obligations. The government is committed to expanding the pool of potential candidates for government entities including the Future Fund board of guardians,” they said.

Other members of the board include John Poynton, Michael Wachtel, John Fraser, Patricia Cross, and Deborah Ralston. Mr Fraser and Mr Poynton are both nearing the end of their current five-year terms, which are due to run out in November and February, respectively.

Government searches for new Future Fund chair

The government is seeking a replacement for Peter Costello, who will exit the Future Fund next year after 14 years on the board, including a decade as chairman.

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Jon Bragg

Jon Bragg

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.

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