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APRA Deputy Chair reflects on two decades of change in governance and risk management

Speeches by APRA Deputy Chair Helen Rowell and former Matildas Vice-Captain, lawyer and Sports Administrator Maya Dodd have been among the highlights on the first day of the Governance Institute of Australia’s Governance and Risk Management Forum in Sydney.

The 2023 Governance and Risk Management Forum is part of the Institute’s National Roadshow, with speakers giving their insights on leadership, decision-making and performance at a time when transparency and disclosure are on top of regulator and stakeholder agendas, and board and executive accountability is in the spotlight.

In her final speech for APRA before stepping down as Deputy Chair at the end of June, Mrs Rowell reflected on her more than two decades of experience as a prudential regulator in the keynote address, including lessons learned under the intense scrutiny of the Banking Royal Commission.

‘When I reflect on my career, taking the witness stand at the Royal Commission is certainly one of the more challenging experiences and one that I am unlikely to forget,’ she said.

‘The primary criticism we faced was failing to take sufficient action to hold those responsible accountable or deter future poor behaviour.’

Mrs Rowell says subsequent reviews on APRA’s standards around governance, culture, remuneration and accountability forced the organisation to make structural changes.

‘Collectively the reviews — uncomfortable though their findings may have been at the time — were catalysts for APRA taking steps to be a more effective and proactive regulator and respond to the lessons provided, just as we expect of the entities that we regulate.’

Former Matildas Vice-Captain, lawyer and Sports Administrator Maya Dodd provided key leadership insights from both on and off the field.

‘If you can get another 10 per cent from everybody out on the field, it’s like having an extra player,’ she said.

‘You might be the captain and the best player, but if you create the conditions for other people to succeed, you will still win even if you have a bad game.’

The Governance and Risk Management Forum continues in Sydney until 18 May, before heading to Melbourne 25–26 May and Darwin 30 May.

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