David Taplin, the first specialist custody and backoffice administration consultant in Australia, has died after a long illness.

Taplin, who launched a custody consulting department at the former Towers Perrin in the late 1980s and later took his team to set up a similar business unit for Deloitte, had most recently been doing private consulting on technology and systems for a variety of clients including stock exchanges. He was known for his entrepreneurial flair which often meant he was at loggerheads with other Towers Perrin partners within the actuarial practice. Taplin’s team, which included Wendy Leong, now with the Future Fund, and Margaret Bishop, with BNP Paribas, developed a sophisticated matrix system for the assessment of third-party administrators. Other asset consultants, such as Intech and Mercer Investment Consulting, followed Towers Perrin in recruiting specialists to advise on funds management administration and super funds’ custody arrangements. In the early days – in the late 1980s and early 1990s – Towers Perrin advised on the first custody tenders, where State Street, the first custodian to launch master custody in Australia, was invariably the incumbent. Towers Perrin urged clients to consider newer service providers, and therefore was instrumental in increasing the width and depth of the custody sector in Australia. Taplin is survived by his wife, Angie, and adult daughter, Chelsea.

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