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Launch of the Securities Trading & Research Laboratory (STARlab), Australian Graduate School of Management, Sydney, 17 May 1999

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The Hon. Joe Hockey, MP 

Minister for Financial Services and Regulation

Launch of the Securities Trading & Research Laboratory (STARlab)

Australian Graduate School of Management 


17 May 1999


Ladies and Gentleman

I would like to thank the Australia n Graduate School of Management for inviting me here this evening to launch the Securities Trading and Research Laboratory - STARlab.

This world class educational facility demonstrates what can be achieved when market participants work together.

The School and its sponsors, the Australian Stock Exchange, Reuters, the Reserve Bank of Australia, Macquarie Bank, the University of NSW are to be congratulated for their commitment to STARlab - a commitment of over $1 million to the development and implementation of this project.

For the sponsors, it is money well spent.

Because they understand that a project like STARlab provides the opportunity to foster best practice in financial markets, through integrating the experience of financial players with the academic capacity of leading researchers.

It is encouraging to see projects undertaken that set up links between universities and practitioners in the financial sector.

Traders will also have access to some of the world’s leading finance academics.

The School is to be commended for securing the appointments of Professors Smith, Foster, and O’Brien , STARlab's co-directors, and leading experts in the areas of finance and technology.

The recruitment of such high caliber talent is heartening for Australia and indicates STARlab’s seriousness in its quest to be a center of excellence in financial markets.

It is also an outstanding contribution to our plans to establish Australia as a center for global financial services.

As the Prime Ministers outlined earlier today, our Government is committed to positioning Australia as a major center for financial services in our time zone. Excellent initiatives such as STARlab will certainly go a long way to helping Australia achieve this objective.

And it is an objective well within our reach. Because while it is a brick-by-brick construction job, like any good construction job, it needs sound foundations. And I Australia has these sound foundations.

And there are four foundations from which we grow to become a true center for global financial services.

First, we offer deep and liquid financial markets.

Second, we have a well-educated, multi-skilled, multi-lingual workforce.

Next, we provide a secure business environment -- offering political stability, a sound financial sector and world-class commercial infrastructure.

And finally, we have an eye to the future, with an ongoing reform process to prepare Australia for the new millennium and beyond.

Ladies and gentlemen, STARlab is a perfect example of the second of these foundations in action. The quality of our workforce is a critical factor in attracting and retaining global financial sector business.

I am sure that any employer competing in the global marketplace would find that a student having been trained using STARlab would be a valuable asset to their organization.

Also, STARlab is very much a partnership between government and industry.

For instance, industry sponsors of STARlab have the opportunity of instigating research projects, which are then conducted by students of the School.

These research projects will provide valuable information to regulators and market participants, who face the difficult task of not only keeping abreast of international trends, but also designing strategies to adapt to the changes influencing the markets.

By keeping market players informed, STARlab also provides participants with the chance to improve their efficiency by encouraging better work practices.

Industry wins by being able to use the latest research and STARlab benefits by gaining a real understanding of issues facing the financial sector.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Government also recognizes that the education system has a crucial role to play in enhancing the awareness and enhancing the understanding of the Australian financial sector.

I believe that Australia is very well placed to promote itself as a training ground for some of the best financial sector operatives in the world.

In this regard, a priority for the Global Financial Sector Task Force, which the Prime Minister announced earlier today, will be to undertake extensive consultation with tertiary and financial institutions as well as the Department of Education, Training a nd Youth Affairs to create initiatives to develop a center for global financial services.

Tonight , however, I wish to focus on a separate initiative that will be a further step forward in the development of educational excellence in financial services.

Over the last few months it has become patently clear to me that the regulatory integrity of the Australian economy is a major comparative advantage in our region.

This covers a range of areas including: corporate law which is predictable, transparent and simple to apply: an independent Central Bank: an independent well resourced prudential supervisor; enforcement of competition standards that permit new players to compete in new markets; and of course, we need a Treasury to make sure we don’t blow the Budget!!!

As someone who has worked in both the private and public sectors I feel that both sides of the fence can work closer together and both should be better able to understand how the other does business.

As such, I am pleased to announce tonight the Sir Otto Niemeyer Scholarship program which, for university graduates, will facilitate work experience and training on a rotational basis through:

  • The Commonwealth Treasury;
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia;
  • The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority;
  • The Au stralian Competition and Consumer Commission
  • The Australian Securities and Investments Commission and
  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Ladies and gentlemen, these rotational scholarships will provide a fantastic opportunity for promising students to get hands-on experience in the development of regulatory policy, and for them to get a real understanding of the way that policy impacts on the financial services sector.

The Scholarships will last for 12 months and will be divided into research and analytical scholarships and trading and marketing scholarships. They will be open to graduates from around Australia who are seeking a career in financial services.

I believe this is a further major step forward in the evolving partnership between the public and private sectors.

And I have named the scholarship program after Sir Otto Niemeyer because in many ways he was the founding father of regulatory integrity in Australia.

In 1930 the Bank of England sent Sir Otto to Australia to help us work through our financial problems caused by the Great Depression. The result was that Sir Otto Niemeyer had a profound impact on our recovery.

Today, I want young Australians to reach out to the world to help other nations through their difficult days. Therefore I can think of no more appropriate name for our scholarship program. I am sure Sir Otto is lounging back on his deckchair in Heaven with a contented smile on his face as he reflects on the irony of the moment!!

Because, as Sir Otto proclaimed almost 70 years ago, a sound regulatory environment is the very foundation on which a robust financial sector is built.

And it is this foundation on which Australia is to become a Center for Global Financial Services.

With this in mind we continue our drive for excellence in education and STARlab is a flagship in one of our fleets.

I am proud to be associated with this fantastic world class project and I officially open STARlab for business.




jy  1999-07-22  14:45