The federal government is slowly moving towards shaping the $91 billion Future Fund, with the appointment of American group Watson Wyatt as asset consultants and advisers on initial strategies.

That’s an early step, but the real interest will come when Treasurer Peter Costello selects the Future Fund board.

The departing CEO of the Commonwealth Bank, David Murray, has been mentioned, but as CEO of a big fund manager in Colonial First State, he should be treated warily. A lot of money will be distributed by the fund to a lot of managers.

I hear the two prime candidates for board and leadership positions are Charles Keiffel and Charles Macek. Both are experienced long time investment managers or investment consultants.

Macek is a leading corporate governance proponent and stood out with his independent thinking on this issue during the Yannon days at Coles Myer, and before it really became popular in the wake of the HIH collapse.

Charles Keiffel is less well-known but has a long history of investment banking, broking and involvement in funds management in Melbourne.

Both are members of the Melbourne financial establishment and both, especially Macek, would bring enormous credibility to the Future Fund.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey