ISI Appoints New CEO

Thursday 3 Mar 11 3:54pm
The Investment Savings and Insurance Association (ISI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Neilson as its new CEO.
(ISI was renamed Financial Services Council in March 2012)

Peter Neilson has been appointed Chief Executive of the Investment Savings and Insurance Association (ISI), the industry body for the superannuation, Kiwisaver and life insurance sector.

 The appointment will see the ISI increase its focus on issues like retirement income and savings, and the level of under-insurance within New Zealand, says Chairman Sean Carroll.

Mr Neilson has been Chief Executive of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development since 2004. During this time he has led successful advocacy for pricing carbon, a levy on solid waste and mainstreaming sustainable business practice, including sustainable procurement by Government agencies.

An economist, he was formerly an international consultant with both Ernst and Young and the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research.  Before that he was a merchant banker after leaving Parliament where he served as a Minister in the New Zealand Government, including portfolios in finance, revenue, SOEs and works.

During his time in Government, he was heavily involved in the financial services industry, overseeing the implementation of a number of important initiatives such as the restructuring of public servant pensions, and the establishment of an independent central bank.

Peter joins the ISI on May 1.

Mr Carroll says the ISI board is excited by the appointment.

“We believe Mr Neilson has all the necessary skills, experience and energy to drive change and improve public confidence in the financial services industry.

“Peter’s experience both in the commercial and political worlds will enable the ISI to strengthen relationships with all key stakeholders and ensure we can make a positive contribution to the changes that are taking place within our industry,” Mr Carroll says.  “His knowledge and background in economics will also provide us with a sound platform for stimulating greater debate around issues such as retirement income and savings, and the level of under-insurance within New Zealand.”

Mr Carroll says that during his time with the Business Council, Mr Neilson broadened the focus of the organisation by leading it away from being focused mainly on improving the sustainability of member businesses to an organisation also capable of influencing public policy on sustainability issues.

“Peter has a proven ability to implement organisational change and performance improvements, and to influence public policy,” says Mr Carroll.  “He is experienced in engaging with a broad range of stakeholders, government officials and politicians to achieve buy in and support for change, and we are looking forward to working with him to improve our industry for the benefit of all New Zealanders and the New Zealand economy as a whole.”

Peter Neilson says he is looking forward to leading the ISI as New Zealand debates how it is going to prepare for an ageing population by gradually moving from pay-as-you-go to greater prepaid provision of retirement incomes and other costs.

“The recent tragic events in Christchurch and Japan have highlighted the value of making forward provision for the uncertainties in life and ensuring people have adequate coverage for the risks they face.”

He says he very much enjoyed his time with the Business Council when it lead the campaign to successfully introduce the emissions trading scheme, the mass insulation of older homes, the levy on solid waste going to landfill and putting fresh water management issues onto the political agenda.

“Business organisations can be very influential when they take solutions not just problems to politicians particularly when they can assemble wide coalitions of support for change,” he says.

“Most New Zealanders recognise the need for us to make better provision for retirement.  The ISI is gearing up to ensure the best solutions are identified and enduring cross party support is found for them.

“This will require the ISI and the finance sector, to have a much larger role in the public debates on these issues that are critical for New Zealand’s future success,” he says.


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The Financial Services Council (FSC) represents investment and life insurance companies in New Zealand.

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