APRA appoints new directors in restructure

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday October 4, 2019

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The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has undergone an organisational restructure following recommendations from a capability review.

The changes announced on Thursday have been made with hopes to align the agency’s organisational structure with its current strategic objectives. APRA will move to an industry-based supervision model, with separate supervisory divisions responsible for superannuation, insurance and banking.

Under the new structure, each of APRA’s six operating divisions will be led by an Executive Director: Sean Carmody will lead the Cross-Industry Insights & Data division; Brandon Khoo has taken Insurance; Therese McCarthy Hockey will lead Banking; Suzanne Smith has taken the role in Superannuation; and Steve Matthews has been appointed Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director, Enterprise Services.

Heidi Richards will act as Executive Director in the Policy & Advice division until a permanent appointment has been made.

The restructure has been on the cards since July, when the results of an independent capability review were released.

READ MORE: APRA told to fix culture, leadership and structure but may escape APS pay-rise policy

The report made 19 recommendations to APRA. Among them, the authority was told to “change its existing internal norms that create a low appetite for transparent supervisory challenge and enforcement” and build up “organisational confidence” so it is less afraid of doing its job.

“The main conclusion of this review is that APRA’s internal culture and regulatory approach need to change,” the report said. 

“There is also variability in its leadership capability.”

APRA Chair Wayne Byres said the new changes will help the agency continue to protect the financial well-being of Australians, and will lift capabilities in supervising new risks.

READ MORE: Regulatory capture: did we need a royal commission to bust it wide open?

“These organisational changes are designed to help us to deliver on our strategy and in particular on the four key community outcomes we have identified as critical for APRA to deliver for the Australian community: financial system resilience, superannuation member outcomes, enhanced GCRA [governance, culture, remuneration and accountability] across the regulated sector, and cyber resilience,” he said.

A new Accountability Regime unit is also in the works, with the aim of delivering  the government’s planned extension of the Banking Executive Accountability Regime across all the industries APRA regulates.

More appointments are set to be announced, and will take effect with the new Executive Directors from 1 December.

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