The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) chairman has advised the Governor‑General of his plan to step down from the role on 30 October, 2022.
Wayne Byres has been part of APRA since its establishment in 1998 where he has held a range of senior executive positions across policy and supervisory divisions.
Speaking on his departure, Mr Byres said it had been an “honour and a privilege” to work for the prudential regulator, but after eight years “the time is right”.
“It has been a difficult decision to make, as there is much about APRA I will miss,” he said.
“I’ve enjoyed the past eight years immensely, and I’m pleased with what has been achieved by APRA in that time.
“There is always more to do, but the financial system is stable, APRA’s leadership team is strong, and the organisation and its people are well placed to continue to manage future challenges.
In making the decision, Mr Byres said now is a good time to hand over the chair’s role to someone new, who will “lead the organisation on the next stage of its journey”.
“Just as we expect the financial institutions we regulate to carefully consider how they renew their leadership, the same applies to APRA,” Mr Byres said.
“I have every confidence the organisation will continue to do great things for the Australian community.”
He will continue to fulfil all usual obligations until his departure at the end of October.
The banking sector acknowledge Byres "invaluable contribution"
The Australian Banking Association (ABA) and member banks acknowledge and thank Mr Wayne Byres for his "invaluable contribution" to the Australian financial system over the past eight years.
ABA chief executive Anna Bligh said that Mr Byres’ leadership over the past eight years has increased the safety and stability of Australia’s financial system over the long term, ensuring it is “unquestionably strong.”
“Over the past eight years, Mr Byres has provided a steady hand and strong leadership, both in Australia and internationally, particularly through the very stormy economic waters of recent times. He has made an invaluable contribution,” Ms Bligh said.
“As evidenced during the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia’s banks are well capitalised and well placed to handle unexpected shocks to the economy. The prudential strength of Australia’s banks enabled them to act as shock absorbers and support their customers through the pandemic.
“With the leadership of Wayne Byres, APRA was able to take a nimble and pragmatic approach to the regulatory framework during this period which underpinned the ability of banks to act quickly.
“Wayne Byres is to be congratulated for his strong leadership and his determination to ensure that Australia has one of the world’s strongest banking systems.”
In addition, the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) CEO Michael Lawrence said under Wayne’s leadership, APRA had seen a "significant change for the better".
“On Wayne’s watch, APRA has become more conscious of examining where and how the regulatory burden falls,” said Mr Lawrence.
“In a recent speech, the APRA Chair highlighted the regulator’s efforts to adopt graduated approaches to avoid undue costs on smaller competitors, to introduce facilitative measures that promote more active competition and to simplify regulation to reduce compliance costs.
“We look forward to working with the new APRA Chair to ensure the customer-owned banking sector can continue to grow and thrive to benefit more Australians.”
The Australian government to select the next chair
The Australian government will now undertake an “open and transparent process” to select the next APRA chair.
Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers thanked Mr Byrnes for his contribution to APRA and his “dedicated service” to Australia.
“Throughout a long and distinguished career, Mr Byres has made a significant contribution to the Australian financial system and the global framework for prudential regulation,” Mr Chalmers said.
“His leadership and expertise has positioned the Commonwealth to respond well to some of the greatest challenges in Australia’s history — most recently in ensuring the stability of the financial system during the COVID‑19 pandemic.
"Under Mr Byres’ leadership, APRA’s public profile has been strengthened through his commitment to transparency and communication — important in underpinning public trust in the security of Australia’s financial system."
Mr Byres has also been a contributor to the Council of Financial Regulators and the Payments System Board of the Reserve Bank.
[Related: APRA chair pings contingency plans needed]