The winners of the 2019 Australian Custodial Services Association Awards were announced on Tuesday at the Investment Magazine Investment Operations Conference. Northern Trust’s James Edmonds, J.P. Morgan’s Roger Chan and State Street’s Janet Corstorphin were honoured for their achievements.

Suresh Chinnappa from NAB Asset Servicing won this year’s Service to Industry Award.

The 2019 awards were presented by ACSA chair David Knights and chief executive Robert Brown.

“The ACSA Awards are designed to highlight the outstanding voluntary efforts that the men and women of the asset servicing industry make in support of the ACSA mission,” Knights said. “They are a public way of showing our thanks to those who go above and beyond.”

Brown told delegates the winners have all made significant contributions to ACSA’s seven working groups, which are focused on advancing developments within the custody and investment administration industry.

“The last year has seen ACSA involved in over 40 formal interactions with regulators,” Brown said. “Through our working groups we provide detailed subject matter insight and practical operational experience. James Edmonds and Janet Corstorphin are both active members of the regulatory working group.”

Delegates heard that this group has had a particularly full agenda, providing input for the evolution of the new Corporate Collective Investment Vehicles regime, as ACSA has advocated a robust approach drawn from international best practice.

The group was also instrumental in achieving positive results on anti-money laundering projects through consultation with AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial crime agency.

The ACSA tax working group, of which Roger Chan is co-chair, also had a busy year, focusing on effective implementation of the tax reporting and withholding obligations, Brown added.

“Tax is a highly technical area, and the ability for practitioners to engage on systemic issues provides significant value to the industry,” he said.

The ACSA chief told delegates that Chinnappa has worked in the Australian custodial sector for close to 40 years and that many across the industry relied upon the service award winner for his invaluable guidance, direction and advice.

“During his time in the industry, Suresh has taken a leadership role in times of change,” Brown said. “Over his career, Suresh has been a driver of ACSA’s work on key initiatives. including data consistency and definitions in support of stronger super reforms, the operational impact of ASX CHESS T+3 and T+2 settlement cycle changes, ASX Austraclear SWIFT automation upgrade, and the ongoing CHESS Replacement project.

While handing out the awards, Brown also updated delegates on key activities the organisation has undertaken over the last 12 months.

These included: engagement with the ASX and broader market on the challenges and opportunities presented by the ASX CHESS replacement and blockchain technology; the launch of a program to tackle inefficiencies in managed funds; and the development of a framework and governance model for consultation with regulators on the continued escalation of data requirements and consequent costs to industry.

Elizabeth Fry has been a financial journalist for more than 25 years and has written for a number of publications, including CFO, The Financial Times and The Australian Financial Review.