Steve Harker, who has been head of Morgan Stanley in Australia for 14 years, is to be appointed chairman of the $73 billion Future Fund, says a person familiar with the matter.

The 56 year-old Harker has been head of the Wall Street firm’s Australian business since 1998. He joined New York-based Morgan Stanley from Barclays de Zoete Wedd, where he was global head of equities in London.

Harker will be nominated as chairman of the Future Fund at a March 13 Cabinet meeting, says the person who requested anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly.

The Government has oversight of the funds through the Treasurer and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation. The government appoints the seven-member board and outlines its investment mandate.

David Murray, the former chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, is due to step down as chairman of the fund on April 3.

Other board members, known as guardians, include Stephen Fitzgerald, chairman of Goldman Sachs in Australia and New Zealand.

Harker has an unusual background for someone working in finance. He was a union leader for the Federated Association of Ironworkers in the 1980s. Perhaps this endears him to the Labor Government.

The Future Fund declined comment.

The fund’s objective is to make provisions for unfunded Commonwealth superannuation contributions.

Harker’s appointment was first reported by the Australian Financial Review.

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