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Bond Business Leaders Forum – Panel Discussion on Australia's Super System

"Australia's Super System - Past, Present and Future”

Australia’s $3.5 trillion superannuation system celebrated its 30-year anniversary in 2022 and is now a significant asset pool that ranks 5th largest in the World. While Australia is regarded as having a well-functioning and well-governed pension system, many significant challenges and opportunities exist.

This panel discussion will review the history of superannuation, the architecture, current developments in the sector, as well as how the system might be enhanced in order to best meet the retirement needs of all Australians.

Facilitator: Professor David Gallagher, Bond University


Dr. Michael O’Neill, Honorary Adjunct Associate Professor, Bond University and Fund Manager at Investors Mutual Limited

Emeritus Professor Ron Bird, Australian National University and Research Director at Portfolio Construction Forum

Professor Deborah Ralston, Member, Future Fund Board of Guardians, RBA Payments System Board, Non-Executive Director SMSF Association, Professorial Fellow at Monash University

Mr. Jeremy Cooper, Former Chairman, Retirement Income at Challenger Limited

Date: Tuesday, 10 October, 2023

Venue: Princeton Room, Level 3, Building 6


  • 5.30pm Registration
  • 6.00pm Panel Discussion
  • 7.30pm Networking and Refreshments

Registrations close 9am, Wednesday 4 October 2023.

David Gallagher


Professor David Gallagher

David R. Gallagher is a Professor of Finance at Bond University. His academic career has included professorial appointments at UNSW, Queensland, and Macquarie University. He was a former CEO of the $41 million UNSW-led Centre of Excellence in International Finance and Regulation (CIFR) funded by the Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments. Dr. Gallagher's research interests and expertise span the investment management industry, superannuation, and capital markets and he has published in top finance journals and global investment management practitioner journals. He has also consulted widely and has acted as an expert witness on legal matters.

Michael O'Neill


Dr. Michael O’Neill

Michael is a portfolio manager at Investors Mutual, managing the All Industrials Share Fund and Equity Income Fund. He also oversees the Financials Sector and co-manages the large-cap research team. Prior to his role in equities, Michael was as an actuary with the Commonwealth Treasury. Michael holds a PhD in Finance from UQ, along with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Actuarial Studies with First Class Honours and a University Medal from ANU. Michael has been a Fellow of the Actuaries Institute since 2007 and was a Director on the Institute’s Board from 2008-2018. Michael also holds the position of Adjunct Associate Professor of Actuarial Sciences at Bond University and has published several papers in international journals, and recently secured an Australian Research Council grant alongside his Bond Colleagues Gulasekaran Rajaguru, Steven Stern and Robert Faff.

Rob Bird


Emeritus Professor Ron Bird

After completing his studies at Monash University, Ron took up his first academic position at Macquarie University in 1970. He moved to the ANU in 1973 where he established the Commerce Department which he subsequently led for several years. Shortly after leaving the ANU in 1988, the university awarded him the title of Emeritus Professor.

Ron then embarked on a career in the private sector; first with Towers Perrin where he oversaw their asset consulting practice in the Asian region and was their global research unit. In 1992 he moved to Westpac Investment Management before departing in 1995 to establish a new Sydney-based quantitative funds management firm, in a joint venture with Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo (Boston).

He returned to academia at UTS in 1999 and in 2007 took on the role of Director

of the Paul Woolley Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality. From 2012 until his retirement at the end of 2018, he held dual Chairs at UTS and Waikato University. He has also held Visiting Chairs at Bocconi University, Berkeley, and the Universities of Washington and North Carolina. Today, he is largely retired but still works part-time with the Portfolio Construction Forum and takes on the occasional consulting project.

Ron’s main research interest is the economics of the funds management and superannuation industries, with particular concentration on behavioural and principal/agent considerations.

Deborah Ralston


Professor Deborah Ralston FCPA, FAICD

Dr Ralston has broad-ranging experience as a Non-Executive Director on private and public sector boards. Current appointments include membership of the Future Fund Board of Guardians, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Payments System Board, and as a non-executive director with the SMSF Association and SuperEd, an innovative digital advice company.

Dr Ralston’s expertise in public policy has been reflected in appointments to the Federal Government’s Retirement Income Review Panel, the Comprehensive Income Products for Retirement Framework Advisory Committee, and as inaugural Chair of ASIC’s Digital Finance Advisory Board. In an executive capacity she has held senior roles in Australian universities, most recently as Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Financial Studies, and as Pro Vice- Chancellor of Business, Law, and Information Sciences at the University of Canberra.

Her academic engagement continues as a Professorial Fellow with the Monash University Business School, where she is a member of the Advisory Board of Mercer CFA Institute Global Pension Index.

Dr Ralston holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics, and a PhD in finance (from Bond University).

Jeremy Cooper


Mr. Jeremy Cooper

Jeremy Cooper was Chairman, Retirement Income at Challenger Limited, a listed fund manager/life insurance company, from late 2010 to mid-2022.

Prior to joining Challenger, Jeremy was appointed by the Rudd Government in 2009 to chair a wide-ranging review of the superannuation system, known as the ‘Cooper Review’.

Before his review role, Jeremy was appointed by The Treasurer, The Hon Peter Costello MP, as the deputy chairman of ASIC for five years from mid-2004. While at ASIC, Jeremy had oversight responsibility across a range of ASIC's teams in the financial services sector.

Prior to his term at ASIC, Jeremy was a partner of Australian law firm, now Ashurst Australia, where he practised principally in mergers and acquisitions and corporate advice for over 20 years.

His approach as a lawyer, and in his wider roles as a regulator and shaper of public policy, have always evidenced a keen intellectual edge and a focus on achieving results. Jeremy has a wide network of relationships with business leaders, politicians and finance industry experts, both in Australia and overseas.

Jeremy has had multiple careers spanning more than 35 years. There are relatively few aspects of public corporate life in Australia in which Jeremy has not had some experience.

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