NICK Sherry, the former senior Labor minister who became Australia's first superannuation minister, has taken his first private sector role since leaving politics in June, emerging as chairman of a global wealth management technology company.
The appointment as chairman to the Australian arm of British-based FNZ is likely to revive the debate over former ministers taking on private sector roles, particularly in their area of policy expertise.
While there are no explicit rules on post-politics employment, the ministerial code of conduct says former ministers must wait for at least 18 months after leaving office before lobbying or having business meetings with government or the public service on any matters on which they have had official dealings as minister.
The code also sets out that former ministers will not take personal advantage of private information to which they have had access as a minister. Mr Sherry left cabinet as part of a wider shuffle in December last year. At the time he was minister for small business.
The ministerial role he was widely known for superannuation he held between November 2007 and June 2009, before being promoted to assistant treasurer.
As superannuation minister, Mr Sherry was largely responsible for setting up the landmark Cooper review of the nation's $1.2 trillion superannuation sector.
This ultimately led to a series of wide-ranging reforms aimed at lowering costs and improving the efficiencies across the industry.
FNZ, which administers about $40 billion in client funds around the world, provides technology and administration services to superannuation funds. More recently, it has developed specialist platforms for retirees to access self-managed super fund products inside broader industry funds.
"We are delighted to gain someone with Nick Sherry's industry knowledge to join the board," said FNZ's global chief executive, Adrian Durham.
"He has been a substantial contributor to the development of the Australian superannuation system and we are pleased he accepted our invitation to chair the Australian board," he said, adding the appointment reflects an "upgrading" of FNZ in the Australian market.
"There is a significant opportunity for FNZ in Australia to add to its current business with its leading technology and cost-effective solutions, particularly for a self-managed investment option within an APRA-regulated [Australian Prudential Regulation Authority] superannuation fund," Mr Sherry said.
The appointment comes amid a period of major industry change. Super funds are under pressure to upgrade their ageing technology, while increased regulation is driving up costs. At the same time, the industry is seeing fast-paced growth in self-managed superannuation funds, which now make up a third of the nation's superannuation savings.