Nick Sherry, a former senator for Tasmania who resigned at the end of June, will take up the role as chairman of FNZ with immediate effect. FNZ provides technology services to a range of local institutional clients, including AMP, UBS and National Australia Bank.
The chief executive officer of FNZ’s Australasian operations, Martin Jennings, says FNZ is “powering pretty much the entire UK life market”, and Sherry’s appointment will give FNZ “insight and strategy that can help the FNZ business, that can help us in developing our business here in Australia”.
Jennings says Sherry “brings experience and knowledge of financial services generally in Australia and, in particular, a focus on superannuation”.
“He brings an insight into where superannuation has come from, and where it’s going,” Jennings says.
Sherry was appointed as Australia’s first minister for superannuation in 2007 under the Rudd government, having served for several years as chair of the Senate Select Committee on Superannuation.
Politician goes private
Most recently Sherry was minister for small business, minister assisting on deregulation and public sector superannuation, and minister assisting on tourism, before retiring from the ministry in December last year.
Sherry says working with FNZ is an opportunity to put into practice some of the things he believes are in the best interests of superannuation fund members.
“My strategic assessment is that there’s a lot of interest right across the board amongst [Australian Prudential Regulation Authority-] regulated funds in adopting this platform technology as a much safer and [more] cost-effective alternative for members in the APRA-regulated environment who think they want to go down the self-managed route,” Sherry says.
He says the experiences of many self-managed super fund (SMSF) members who lost money in the collapse of Trio contrasted with the experiences of members of APRA-regulated funds, who are afforded far greater regulatory protection against theft and fraud.
However, Sherry says that the self-managed solutions offered to members of APRA-regulated funds have not always been as flexible or cost-effective as they could be.
“The attraction [of FNZ] is that they have a very efficient, very effective – cost effective and operationally efficient – platform in place,” he says.
Sherry is also a senior consultant on superannuation and pensions for Ernst & Young. He holds honorary positions on the World Economic Forum pension-project steering committee and on the Harvard Law School financial regulation inclusion-project committee.
His appointment coincides with the elevation of Jennings to the FNZ board and his appointment as CEO of FNZ’s Australasian businesses. He was previously managing director of FNZ in Australia and New Zealand.