Numbers man had it all figured out




8-12-1952 2-3-2012

MICHAEL Dwyer, whose contribution to the private sector business community and the public sector regulatory and policy environment reflected a person of enormous character, has died at home in Malvern. He was 59.

Dwyer, who served as a commissioner of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission until December last year, influenced professional thinking, performance and accountability in respectful, ethical and practical ways.

Besides his involvement with ASIC, he was a former partner of both KPMG and WHK Horwath, and most recently a private corporate consultant.

In all these roles, Dwyer provided an enduring legacy to the accounting and, in particular, the corporate restructuring and insolvency profession his contributions acknowledged by senior government officials and leaders of the Australian business community alike.

The fourth child of Jack and Hilary Dwyer, he was born in Melbourne and began his education at Loreto Convent in 1958. He moved on to Xavier College, from where he matriculated in 1971, and then went on to complete his financial and accountancy studies at the Caulfield Institute of Technology in 1975.

In 1991, he was awarded an MBA from Monash University he also held both chartered accountant and CPA professional designations.

Dwyer, a former president and life member of the Insolvency Practitioners Association of Australia, began his professional career with Touche Ross in 1986. He went on to have significant roles with KPMG in both Adelaide and Indonesia, but it was with KPMG in Melbourne that Dwyer's skills as an insolvency practitioner came to the fore.

In 1998-99, he worked in Jakarta and was responsible for setting up KPMG's restructuring practice. He was senior adviser to four major Indonesian corporate investigations and restructuring assignments where debt, owed mainly to international banks, ranged from $US150 million to $US950 million.

All these companies were successfully restructured and continue to operate as publicly listed operations.

He spent 4 years in Adelaide as partner in charge of KPMG's corporate recovery practice, and after he retired from the company in 2004, Dwyer established and chaired the national business recovery and insolvency unit for Horwath Australia.

In 2006 he left Horwath and set up the boutique consultancy firm, Dwyer Corporate.

In December 2009, the then federal minister for superannuation and corporate law, Nick Sherry, appointed Dwyer an ASIC commissioner, responsible for regulatory oversight of the accounting, auditing and insolvency professions in Australia. He was the first insolvency practitioner to be appointed a commissioner.

During his time with ASIC, Dwyer was significantly involved in corporate law reform designed to enhance audit quality, the Commonwealth Senate inquiry into the conduct of the insolvency profession, and a variety of other important initiatives on behalf of Australia's leading corporate regulator.

His unique blend of professional knowledge and experience, together with his engaging manner and pragmatic approach, contributed significantly to ASIC's operation and success during this time.

Dwyer also had significant involvement in charitable endeavours and the broader community. He was a past council member and on the executive of the Victorian Red Cross, chairman of the fund-raising committee for medical research at St Vincent's Institute, and heavily involved in the Old Xaverian alumni, among other causes.

The outstanding achievements of his professional career were, if anything, overshadowed by the close personal friendships and enduring relationships he made during his life.

Work and professional colleagues, Old Xav's school mates, fellow golfers, punters and connoisseurs of fine food and wine alike, all remember Dwyer's larger than life persona, his forthright dealings, his generosity, warmth and spirit, and his seemingly endless enthusiasm to help his mates and others less fortunate.

In particular, his devotion to his direct and extended family was enormous, and he will be held close in the hearts of the Dwyer "clan" in the seemingly unique way only those of Irish decent can do.

Dwyer was introduced to his future wife, Sally Lenihan, in 1977 by lifelong friends Ailsa and Peter (Macca) McCarthy where else, but at his beloved Flemington race track.

McCarthy fondly recalls that while "Pickle", one of Dwyer's more memorable nicknames, was slow out of the box, the barnstorming finish in the final straight towards a wonderful marriage of about 32 years was something to behold.

Dwyer is survived by his wife, Sally, and their children, Alice, Henry, Ed, Annabelle and Millie.

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