The federal government has appointed three new members to an expert panel whose job is to advise public servants on social impact investing.
The new expert advisers are:
- Sally McCutchan, chief executive and executive director of Impact Investing Australia;
- Dr Catherine Brown, chief executive of the Melbourne-based Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust; and
- Danny Gilbert, co-founder and managing partner of the law firm Gilbert and Tobin.
This year’s budget allocated $5 million to the Social Impact Investing Taskforce, a team of public servants based in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, whose work is to be guided by the expert panel.
The founding chief executive of Social Ventures Australia, former banker Michael Traill, was appointed to chair the expert advisory panel in April, with the role of deputy chair going to Amanda Miller, who co-founded the company Impact Generation Partners and is a member of the Philanthropy Australia council.
“I am excited about the wealth of experience across the expert panel to develop practical recommendations to underpin a cohesive, strategic approach to achieving better outcomes through social impact investing,” Traill said in a statement announcing the three new members.
The public servants in the taskforce are expected to produce a strategy for the Commonwealth’s ongoing role in the growing market for social impact investment, and guide future investment of federal funds into social impact investment projects.
By offering returns to investors, the aim is to attract private investment in social services that can reduce the future cost of public services — hopefully making more funding available in the short term than governments are willing to commit, particularly for new or unconventional approaches.
An example The Mandarin has explored in some detail is the Sticking Together social impact bond issued by the New South Wales Department of Planning and Industry earlier this year, which convinced investors to stake a combined $5 million on efforts to reduce youth unemployment.
Sally McCutchan is a Certified Practising Accountant and, like Traill, has a background in finance. She joined Impact Investing Australia in May 2015 to work on the launch of IIA subsidiary Impact Capital Australia. She is a non-executive director of Indigenous Business Australia Asset Management, Oxfam Australia and two National Australia Bank securitisation companies, and has held senior roles with Accenture, Legg Mason Asset Management and SBC Warburg (now UBS).
McCutchan is also a member of a working group within the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment, the Australian Advisory Board on Impact Investing and the QBE Classification of Social Impact Committee.
Catherine Brown is a lawyer with lots of experience in senior roles with not-for-profit organisations and charitable trusts, including the Brain Foundation of Victoria, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust and the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Trust.
Danny Gilbert is the trustee of multiple private charitable trusts and has considerable governance experience. He is currently chair of the Western Sydney University Foundation, co-chair of the Cape York Partnership Group and a member of the Business Council of Australia board.
In the past, he has been a non-executive director of the National Australia Bank and chaired the boards of the National Museum of Australia, the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.