Ex-pat Kiwi and ASIC executive Sean Hughes to head government's new super financial regulator

Ex-pat Kiwi and ASIC executive Sean Hughes to head government's new super financial regulator

The Government's Financial Markets Authority Establishment Board has named expatriate New Zealander and Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) executive Sean Hughes as CEO designate of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).

Hughes will take up his role in January with the FMA, which is set to consolidate the powers and functions of the Securities Commission, some of the functions of the Registrar of Companies and the Government Actuary, plus some of NZX's regulatory roles, is due to be up and running from April 1.

ASIC has a reputation for tougher enforcement of financial advisers and financial institutions than New Zealand's Securities Commission.

Financial Markets Authority Establishment Board chairman Simon Botherway says, in his opinion, a measure of the new regulator's success over time will be increased investment in areas other than property.

Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Simon Power said moves to recruit a chairperson for the FMA were under way, with applications closing on 25 October.

Read the announcement below:

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) Establishment Board announced today the appointment of Sean Hughes as chief executive-designate of the FMA, New Zealand’s new integrated market conduct regulator.

Mr Hughes is an expatriate New Zealander with more than 20 years international experience in securities and capital markets, surveillance and enforcement functions as well as extensive private sector experience in financial services. Mr Hughes is currently the Senior Executive Leader, Corporations, for the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

He has responsibility for the regulatory oversight of the top 300 listed corporates in Australia, heading a team of more than 30 staff. Mr Hughes was appointed after an international executive search process and will start his new role in early January 2011.

The FMA is expected to be operational by 1 April 2011, subject to enabling legislation currently before Parliament.

“We are delighted to have attracted back to New Zealand someone of Sean’s calibre and background to this important leadership role,” commented FMA Establishment Board chairman Simon Botherway.

“Sean brings relevant skills and experience across both the regulatory and private sectors and is highly regarded in the Australian securities sector. His strong knowledge and understanding of financial markets, his track record in enforcement and litigation, and his management experience will be important attributes as the FMA leads the transformation of New Zealand’s regulatory environment, designed to restore investor confidence in our financial markets.”

Mr Hughes, 44, has been in his current role at ASIC since December 2008. He also worked at ASIC previously, as Director (Financial Services Regulation) from 1999 to 2003. Between 2003 and 2008, he was in senior banking roles in Australia, as group general manager compliance at ANZ and senior legal counsel at National Australia Bank.

Earlier in his career, he was a lawyer in private practice in firms in Australia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and New Zealand where he specialised in commercial litigation matters across sectors including insurance, banking and securities markets.

Mr Hughes was born in Palmerston North and educated in Christchurch, graduating Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours and Bachelor of Arts (History) from the University of Canterbury. He was later awarded a W.M. Tapp Studentship to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge in the United Kingdom, where he received a Master of Law (first) in 1992. The Government announced the creation of the Financial Markets Authority in April 2010.

The FMA will be an independent Crown entity which will consolidate the powers and functions of the existing Securities Commission, some of the functions of the Registrar of Companies and the Government Actuary, and some of the regulatory roles of the NZX.

(Update adds line on search for an FMA chairperson).

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the question might well be asked what was his role in this ongoing fiasco---apart from warming a well worn seat---

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/10/18/3040948.htm

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