Former Challenger chief executive Dominic Stevens has been appointed the new managing director and chief executive of the ASX. He starts in the position today.
Mr Stevens moves to leadership of the ASX executive team from the boardroom: he has been a non-executive director of the ASX since December 2013. He is also a director of peer-to-peer lender SocietyOne.
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Find out why the head of Australia’s stock exchange Elmer Funke Kupper resigned unexpectedly. (Video courtesy ABC News 24)
He was CEO of Challenger from 2008 to 2012 and before that was at Bankers Trust Australia.
In a statement to the ASX on Monday morning announcing the appointment, Mr Stevens said ASX “is in a strong position, has an enviable reputation and is well positioned for future opportunities”.
“The financial markets are dynamic and ASX will continue to adapt to the changing conditions and needs of its customers. I am looking forward to working more closely with the talented people at ASX, and taking the company’s competitiveness and strong commitments to innovation and customer service to the next level.”
The ASX released a summary of key terms of Mr Stevens’ employment contract. His fixed remuneration will be $2 million, with a short-term incentive of between $2 million and $3 million.
Mr Stevens’ appointment comes after former ASX CEO Elmer Funke Kupper was forced to resign in the wake of corruption allegations dating back to when Mr Funke Kupper ran Tabcorp.
ASX said Melinda Conrad would replace Mr Stevens on the the ASX board as a non-executive director.
One of Mr Stevens’ big initial strategic decisions will be whether to adopt blockchain technology for the ASX’s clearing and settlement systems. ASX owns 8.5 per cent of Digital Asset Holdings, the blockchain start-up run by former JPMorgan executive Blythe Masters, which is investigating whether a real-time distributed ledger system can be built for the ASX to replace CHESS. A decision on whether to proceed with the technology is expected next year.
Investors have also been pushing ASX to pursue growth by developing strategic partnerships with other exchanges in the region and globally.
ASX reported underlying profit after tax of $317 million for the nine months to March 31, which was up 5.9 per cent on revenue that was 7 per cent higher. The ASX makes 35 per cent of its revenue from derivatives and OTC markets, 26 per cent from listings services, 25 per cent from trading services and 14 per cent from clearing and settlement.
The ASX’s only competition comes from trading exchange Chi-X Australia, which is now owned by US private equity firm JC Flowers.
In March, the federal government said it will end the ASX’s monopoly over clearing share trades mid next year – which analysts said could make it a target from overseas suitors. The ASX’s 15 per cent foreign ownership restriction can now be waived by the Treasurer.
Mr Stevens’ appointment to CEO of ASX was predicted by The Australian Financial Review‘s Rear Window column.
ASX chairman Rick Holliday-Smith said in the announcement Mr Stevens’ “long involvement in financial markets, his experience as a CEO and his time as a director means the ASX board is delighted and confident in making this appointment. He is popular and highly regarded by ASX’s board, staff and major stakeholders. Dom is ideally qualified to lead the company and build on ASX’s achievements”.
Ms Conrad, who will stand for election to the board at the ASX annual general meeting on September 28, is a non-executive director of OzForex Group and the Reject Shop, and was previously on the boards of David Jones and APN News & Media.