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SMSF Association appoints 2 new board members

deborah ralston and bryan ashenden smsf
Tony Zhang
22 July 2021 — 1 minute read

The SMSF Association has appointed two new members to its board.

The SMSF Association has appointed Professor Deborah Ralston, former chair of the SMSF Association, and Bryan Ashenden, head of financial literacy and advocacy at BT, to its board.

“We are delighted to be able to announce these two appointments. Deborah proved an invaluable board member during her last stint, playing an important role in the public debate on a broad range of retirement incomes policy issues,” SMSF Association chair Andrew Hamilton said.

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“Her many years of being involved in key public policy debates in the financial services industry, with a focus on innovation and retirement issues, is a resource that the association will be able to tap again, and we look forward to hearing her wise counsel.

“Deborah is a Professorial Fellow at Monash University and is a member of the Steering Committee for the Mercer CPA Global Pension Index.” 

Aside from past academic roles, Ms Ralston is a member of the Reserve Bank Payments System Board, and a non-executive director of Kaplan Business School, Kaplan Higher Education and SuperEd. She was also the inaugural chair of ASIC’s Digital Finance Advisory Board.

Speaking on her appointment, Ms Ralston said that her previous time on the SMSF Association Board was extremely fulfilling and she was delighted to accept when asked to join again.

“As our work on the Retirement Income Review highlighted, we have many challenges ahead, and I look forward to contributing to the debate, particularly as it affects the SMSF sector,” she said.

Mr Ashenden is the current head of financial literacy and advocacy at BT and is also a lecturer on ethics and professionalism in financial advice and the economic and legal context for financial planning, and is a member of various working groups at the Financial Services Council.

“Bryan’s primary focus at BT is to interpret legislative and regulatory change and distil this into meaningful actions for advisers, advice businesses, clients and consumers,” Mr Hamilton said.

“A principal focus in this role is to assist building consumer trust in the advice process and supporting advisers in raising professional standards, a role that makes him eminently suitable for our board at a point of time when the advice industry is undergoing major change.”

Mr Ashenden added that he was honoured to be asked to join the association’s board. 

“Having been a specialist member for the past decade, I am confident my experiences, especially my current role at BT interpreting legislative and regulatory change, equips me to make a meaningful contribution to the association and the SMSF sector more broadly,” Mr Ashenden commented.

SMSF Association appoints 2 new board members
deborah ralston and bryan ashenden smsf
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