The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has promoted Suzanne Smith to executive director of the country’s $2.9 trillion superannuation industry as part of an organisational restructure.

The regulator said it wanted to “better align” the organisation with strategic objectives laid out in its four–year corporate plan. Smith only joined APRA in March from MLC Life Insurance, as general manager of superannuation.

APRA chair Wayne Byres said the changes will “sharpen” focus and lift capabilities in supervising newer and emerging risks. “These organisational changes are designed to help us to deliver on our strategy,” he said.

With a masters degree in Applied Finance from the University of Melbourne, Smith has more than 25 years experience working in financial services including almost seven years at National Australia Bank, most recently as general manager of group insurance. In her LinkedIn profile, she describes herself as “a strong leader” who is passionate about driving “sustainable and effective change.”

APRA is moving to an industry-based supervision model following Graeme Samuel’s capability review of the regulator earlier this year and has created separate supervisory divisions responsible for superannuation, insurance and banking. Under the new structure, each of the six operating divisions will be led by an executive director including Brandon Khoo for insurance and Therese McCarthy Hockey for banking. The new appointments and organisational changes will formally take effect from December.

Following Samuel’s recommendations, APRA said it would take steps to “strengthen and intensify” its focus and allocate more resources to the supervision of governance, culture, remuneration and accountability as well as technology-related risks and operational resilience. It also announced plans to set up a new Accountability Regime unit, which is dedicated to delivering on the Government’s extension of the Banking Executive Accountability Regime.

Sarah Jones worked for Bloomberg news in London for 12 years covering equity markets and global asset management. Prior to that she worked for Australian Associated Press in Sydney covering economics and monetary policy.
Leave a comment