Former MP and trade union leader Greg Combet has been appointed to lead Australia’s sovereign wealth fund.
Mr Combet will begin a five year term as chair of the Future Fund in the middle of the year, Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced on Monday.
The Future Fund, the nation’s largest single financial asset, was established in 2006.
Its aim was to strengthen the Commonwealth’s long-term financial position by making provision for unfunded superannuation liabilities that will become payable during a period when the ageing population is likely to put Commonwealth finances under pressure.
The fund was established 14 years ago by Peter Costello, who is wrapping up his second term as chair.
Modernising the Fund
Mr Chalmers said Mr Combet had a distinguished career and wide experience in investment, superannuation, government and energy transformation and his appointment would bring deep experience and fresh leadership to modernise the fund.
“He is the perfect appointment to take the Future Fund into the future,” the Treasurer told a media conference.
The fund would maintain its independence and commercial focus in the future, Mr Combet said.
“We cherish the Future Fund’s independence and commercial focus and we don’t want to mess with that,” he told journalists.
“What we want to do is make sure the Future Fund is an important financial and economic institution into the future. The first step in ensuring that is getting fresh thinking and fresh leadership.”
He said there would be no immediate changes to the Fund, including changes to its investment mandate.
“We’ll have discussions with the chair of the Future Fund and with the CEO and CIO and others about the future,” Mr Chalmers said.
“We think the most appropriate first step when renewing and refreshing an institution like this is to get the right people in place.”
Mr Combet was formerly Climate Change and Energy Efficiency minister and a leader of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. He is currently Chair of the Net Zero Economy Agency (NZEA).
He’s also served as Chair of IFM Investors, a Trustee of AustralianSuper and Superannuation Trust of Australia and served on the Executive Board of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) under the previous Government.
The Government has appointed Nicola Wakefield Evans and Rosemary Vilgan as part-time members of the Board for five-year terms.
Former Macquarie Banker Mary Reemst will be the Fund’s acting chair from February 4.
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