Future Fund to welcome new chair

10 October 2023
| By Rhea Nath |
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The Albanese government is set to commence a recruitment process for the new chair of the Future Fund to succeed Peter Costello, who has confirmed he will not be seeking a third term. 

Costello was first appointed to the fund in December 2009. He was named acting chairman in January 2014 and chairman with effect from February 2014 for a five-year term. 

He was then reappointed as chairman for another five-year term from February 2019.

Announcing the search for a new Future Fund chair, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said: “We thank Mr Costello for his significant contribution as a board member and then chair over the past 14 years. He leaves with the Government’s appreciation and respect.”

A former parliamentarian, Costello was a member of the Australian House of Representatives from 1990 to 2009 and treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia from March 1996 to December 2007.  

Chalmers noted Costello’s contribution to the establishment of the Future Fund in 2006 during his tenure with Treasury.  

“Upon the fund’s inception, Mr Costello spoke about the importance of ensuring that Australia could meet its unfunded superannuation obligations without imposing an undue burden on future generations,” he said.

“During his time at the Future Fund, its portfolio has grown steadily and is today worth more than $200 billion. It has delivered an average annual return of 8.8 per cent per annum over the past decade.”

As at 30 June 2023, total funds invested by the board stood at $256.2 billion. 

“A formal merit-based recruitment process will now commence to appoint a new Chair,” Chalmers added.

“The Government will also carefully consider any future board vacancies as an opportunity to refresh and renew the Future Fund’s leadership.”

Earlier this month, Chalmers had flagged two board appointments were imminent at Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, including the question of whether Costello would stay on. The treasurer has since announced the appointment of Macquarie Group veteran, Mary Reemst, to the board for a five-year term. 

Last week, the Finance Ministry announced a new disclosure regime for the fund, requiring periodic investment disclosures to ensure there is more information in the public domain in relation to the investments of the Future Fund.

This will include additional information on funds managed by the $256 billion fund, which include the Disaster Ready Fund, Future Drought Fund, and the Medical Research Future Fund.

The first report will be published by the end of March 2024, covering investments held by or on behalf of the board as at 31 December 2023. Reporting will be on a biannual basis going forward.
 

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