CIFR likely to fold following Budget cut

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(pictured: David Gallagher)

The Centre for International Finance and Regulation, the university-backed and mainly federally funded investment research body, is likely to cease operations at the end of this year following the Government’s failure to renew its funding in last week’s Budget.

Professor David Gallagher, CIFR chief executive, wrote to supporters and other stakeholders last Friday advising them of the body’s financial position. He said his primary focus would now be on ensuring all CIFR-funded research projects were completed and the results disseminated before the end of 2016.

CIFR was set up in 2010 in response to the Johnson Report in the wake of the financial crisis. It was promised up to $25 million over four years, of which the Commonwealth paid $12.1 million, the NSW Government $6 million and a group of universities $5.5 million in matched funding for research.

“Naturally we are very disappointed with this outcome,” Gallagher said. “Over the past year, I have had many constructive meetings, phone conversations and email correspondence with Commonwealth Government ministers, senators, chiefs of staff and other relevant parties regarding the contribution that CIFR has made, and could continue to make, to the Australian financial system.”

He had been lobbying the Government and attempting to get other stakeholders to do the same in the lead-up to the Budget. This included obtaining “many” testimonials from industry, regulators and academics, including APRA and ASIC.

“I am particularly proud of what CIFR has achieved over the past three years and I am extremely grateful to CIFR’s Board, management team, researchers, funders, consortium members, industry partners and key stakeholders for their outstanding contributions and support.”
“Unfortunately, the current budgetary and political climate have made it extremely difficult to secure a sustainable future for CIFR. While there is still a remote chance that further Commonwealth Government funding might be allocated to CIFR, our primary focus now will be on ensuring that all CIFR-funded research projects are completed and the results disseminated to stakeholders before the end of 2016.“Most stakeholders recognise that CIFR has played an important role in bringing together industry stakeholders to engage on key issues, and in delivering quality, academically rigorous research and policy recommendations,” Gallagher’s note said.

People who submitted testimonials supporting CIFR included:

  • Wayne Byres, chairman, APRA;
  • Dr John Laker, former chairman, APRA;
  • Mark Adams, senior executive leader, strategic intelligence, ASIC;
  • Maurice Newman, director, O’Connell Street Associates;
  • David Neal, managing director, Future Fund;
  • John Brogden, chief executive, Australian Institute of Company Directors;
  • Greg Cooper, chief executive, Schroder Investment Management Australia and chairman, Financial Services Council;
  • Martin Blake, NSW chairman, KPMG;
  • Jeremy Cooper, (former deputy chair of ASIC and former chair of the 2010 Super System Review, chairman, Retirement Income, Challenger;
  • Fred Hilmer, Emeritus Professor and former vice-chancellor and president, UNSW Australia;
  • Professor Lawrence R. Glosten, Columbia Business School, Columbia University; and
  • Ross Buckley, CIFR King & Wood Mallesons Professor of International Finance Law and Scientia Professor UNSW Australia.
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