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Former banker tipped to replace D'Aloisio as ASIC chairman

Sydney Morning Herald

Tuesday March 22, 2011

Ben Butler

THE chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Tony D'Aloisio, has told staff he will step down at the end of May.In a bulletin sent to staff through the commission's intranet yesterday, Mr D'Aloisio confirmed media reports that he would not seek an extension to his contract.He did not comment on who might replace him.An ASIC commissioner, Greg Medcraft, a former banker, is firming as the leading candidate for the $568,000-a-year job, ahead of a fellow commissioner and ASIC staff favourite, Shane Tregillis, and the deputy chairwoman, Belinda Gibson.Mr D'Aloisio was appointed for a four-year term in May 2007, becoming the fifth chairman of ASIC and its predecessor body, the Australian Securities Commission.A lawyer, he was chief executive partner at the top commercial law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques before becoming chairman of the Australian Securities Exchange in 2004.But Mr D'Aloisio's tenure at the exchange lasted just 18 months, with his services no longer required following the ASX's $5.3 billion merger with the Sydney Futures Exchange.Under pressure from institutional investors, the ASX gave the SFE head, Rob Elstone, the top job, while Mr D'Aloisio received a controversial $7.78 million payout and joined ASIC as a commissioner.If Mr Medcraft becomes the commission's sixth chairman he will be only the second non-lawyer to lead the corporate regulator.While the accountant Jeffrey Lucy, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers partner who was chairman from 2003 until 2007, was criticised by consumer advocates for his "light touch" approach to regulation, Mr Medcraft has shown a sterner approach.Since being appointed a commissioner in February 2009, Mr Medcraft has led ASIC's charge on contracts for difference, repeatedly warning consumers of the dangers posed by the highly leveraged products.A career banker with 30 years experience at the French investment bank Societe Generale, Mr Medcraft was also the founder of the American Securitisation Forum, which he chaired from 2005 until 2007.Mr Medcraft left the US in 2007, just before the securitisation of house mortgages became a controversial subject as the key driver of the global financial crisis.

© 2011 Sydney Morning Herald

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