The Morrison government has appointed Margaret Cole as a full-time member of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) for a five-year period.
Ms Cole’s term will begin from 1 July 2021, replacing previous member Geoff Summerhayes, whose five-year term expired on 31 December 2020.
She will join the APRA executive board alongside the chair, Wayne Byres, and deputy chairs John Lonsdale and Helen Rowell.
Ms Cole has experience in regulatory and legal fields across both the private and public sectors, having previously worked as managing director of enforcement and financial crime, and a board member of the UK Financial Services Authority.
More recently, Ms Cole worked as general counsel and chief risk officer of PwC in the UK, and subsequently as PwC’s global regulatory policy ad engagement leader.
She has also spent over 20 years in private practice as a solicitor specialising in commercial litigation with an emphasis on financial services.
APRA welcomed Ms Cole’s appointment, with Mr Byres stating that it has provided APRA with the opportunity to implement some changes to the allocation of responsibilities among APRA members.
He said Ms Cole will assume primary responsibility for overseeing APRA’s activities in relation to superannuation given her experience in relation to governance and conduct-related matters.
In addition, Ms Rowell will assume primary responsibilities for overseeing APRA’s activities in relation to general, life and private health insurance, Mr Byres added.
Commenting on the changes, he said: “Margaret’s arrival provides a natural opportunity to review and refresh the allocation of responsibilities among the APRA members, to take advantage of the mix of skills and experience among the group. Superannuation is a natural fit for Margaret given her background.
“Helen, as well as being a qualified actuary, was one of APRA’s senior insurance supervisors earlier in her career and was heavily involved in the design of APRA’s insurance capital framework, so is very well equipped to oversee the insurance industry.”
Mr Byres also welcomed Ms Cole to APRA on behalf of APRA members and executives, and said he is looking forward to working with her “to continue to deliver on our mandate to safeguard the financial wellbeing of the Australian community”.
“Margaret will bring to APRA a strong blend of regulatory and private sector experience, with a particular focus on conduct, risk management and enforcement,” he said.
“Her international experience and perspective will also be a valuable addition to the APRA executive board. I am very pleased she was willing to take on the appointment.”
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Ms Cole would bring a “strong” enforcement background and “global perspective to APRA, further strengthening APRA’s leadership capability”.
“Strong and effective financial regulators are vitally important to maintaining the community’s trust and confidence in the financial system,” he said.