Investment banking startup Barrenjoey Capital Partners has appointed former federal government minister Kelly O’Dwyer and its general counsel Annette Spencer as directors, as it seeks to raise the number of women on its board.
The fast-growing Barrenjoey also confirmed on Monday that former UBS boss Matthew Grounds will be its executive chairman, working alongside another ex-UBS banker Guy Fowler, as foreshadowed last week.
Former Federal MP Kelly O’Dwyer has joined the board of Barrenjoey. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
Mr Grounds, dubbed a “rockstar banker” in his previous role at the Swiss bank, will be focused on clients in his new job, with chief executive Brian Benari responsible for the startup’s operations.
Ms O’Dwyer, who is also a director of ASX-listed Home Consortium and Equity Trustees, quit politics in 2019 after holding senior portfolios, including as minister for jobs and industrial relations and minister for women.
The other new director announced on Monday, Ms Spencer, is another former employee of UBS, where she was general counsel for 23 years before joining Barrenjoey last year.
The appointments of Ms O’Dwyer and Ms Spencer will mean Barrenjoey’s as yet incomplete board has eight directors – six of whom are men. The company said it would appoint two more women as directors in the coming weeks, which will leave its ten-person board with 40 per cent female representation.
Chairman David Gonski said the company was thrilled to announce the appointment of the two directors, who would be responsible for overseeing effective supervision and governance of the company. “Balance in terms of skills, background and perspectives is critical to any board,” Mr Gonski said.
Barrenjoey, backed by fund manager Magellan Financial Group and United Kingdom banking giant Barclays, has been aggressively expanding its staff in recent months as it looks to shake up the local investment banking sector.
Its corporate finance business has been operational since October last year, and it has so far signed up three clients, working as an adviser to Judo Bank; to mortgage broker Lendi in its merger with Aussie Home Loans; and to PEXA as it eyes a float. Barrenjoey’s equities and fixed income businesses are expected to be operational by the end of June, after it recently received key licences.
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